Brian Doyle
First thought: man, no wonder he was so skinny.
Second thought: who puts crackers in the fridge?
Third: is a fridge without any beer a fridge at all?
But then I start thinking about the stark geometry
Of his fridge, and how its just like his apartment,
Everything lean and spare and useful and solitary,
Nothing stumbling cheerfully over anything else,
Nothing rubbed up against the completely wrong
Something else. No butter, milk, mayo, jam, fruit,
Ketchup, mustard, ice cream, or mysterious spills,
Though there are various glaring medicine bottles.
Its pretty much water and crackers in here, which
Makes me grin, for you never heard a priest spout
More joyously on the essential sacramental foods
Than he did, bread and water, he would say, wine
If you must, thats all you need, all life is inherent
In these substances, add wine as necessary for joy.
Two thousand miles from here a nurse approaches
To ask him what he would like for dinner, and I
Grin all the way home, knowing full well what is
His answer: a little bread and water, God bless you.

Brian Doyle is the editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland in Oregon. He is also the author of eight books of essays, nonfiction and proems, most recently Epiphanies and Elegies (Sheed & Ward, 2007).

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