By Travis Stephens
On the morning flight to San Francisco
they hand out little boxes which contain
fruit, a puck of muffin and a tiny plastic
cup of peanut butter. I like to believe
it is some machine squirting peanut butter
into eight hundred and thirty-two cups
not some unfortunate wearing polyethylene
gloves which don’t fit well, scooping out
of a number ten can.
What I recall of food service
was loud music, slippery
floors and the way oven doors leave
burns on your wrists; a misery
to anyone who works in hot, soapy water.
There is a dab of peanut butter on the
lip of my box plus a grape stem among the fruit;
I suspect there is no machine involved.
Likely someone like me,
brown, restless, dependable.
Facing the endless open mouths of cups,
anticipating, far too much
the change from peanut butter
to ranch dressing.
Travis Stephens was raised on a dairy farm. He earned a degree at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, before departing for the West Coast. Stephens became a sea captain and now resides in California. He has been published in the Upriver anthology, NOTA, Stoneboat Review, Crosswinds Poetry Journal, Havik, and Pennsylvania English. His was a Poem of the Week for Silver Needle Press and other work will appear in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature the winter of 2018.