Benson’s Deli With Dad

by Doug Holder, Somerville, MA

Father and I
awkwardly threw
a football back and forth—
our forced theatrics
two Jews
in some tortured Rockwellian pantomime
that neither
had any belief in.

But
it was in
Benson’s Deli
on Saturday afternoons
the pop
and the long awaited fizz
of the Doctor Brown’s—
the delicious hint of vanilla cream
at the cusp of my nostrils.

Dad’s loving adornement of his hotdog
a true work of abstract art
a colorful phallus
of juice and savory meat.
And my brother and me
breaking through the brittle yellow skin
of a meat knish
as if we were prospecting gold diggers.

And for me
those afternoons
that warm, nostalgic
ancient hue
is all that
rings true.