on the page magazine

issue no. 9, winter 2002–2003


His name is like a ham sandwich

by Erik Leavitt

His name is like a ham sandwich—simple,
but sustaining enough. No one squints
at Henry's name tag, and junk mail

gets it right every time. It's no good.
He tries the philosophy game:
calling "Marco" from the shallow end

of the pool and waiting
for truth to respond,
but he doesn't feel any more complex.

Still he sulks instead of broods,
holds up a skull like Hamlet
but it might as well

be a bowl of soggy cornflakes.
"What's in a name?" he asks,
but so far it's everything.

This "Henry" should be his own,
a Tupperware bowl
only he can burp,

or snow pants
over a rain slicker,

but at least
in the shape
of a man.

Erik Leavitt is a graduate of Macalester College with degrees in English and classics. Currently he works as a night auditor in Duluth, Minnesota.

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