on the page magazine
issue no. 13 summer/fall 2006
unfinished business


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 an MFA student in Boise, Idaho. His work has appeared in AGNI and the New York Quarterly. His poems "Fox" and Macho have appeared in previous issues of On the Page.

Ed. note: "His name is like a ham sandwich" first appeared in our winter 2002 issue.

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