BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

I love writing poems about the most ordinary of things, and was envious, indeed, when I found this one by Michael McFee, who lives in North Carolina. How I wish I’d written it.

Saltine

How well its square
fit my palm, my mouth,
a toasty wafer slipped
onto the sick tongue
or into chicken soup,

each crisp saltine a tile
pierced with 13 holes
in rows of 3 and 2,
its edges perforated
like a postage stamp,

one of a shifting stack
sealed in wax paper
whose noisy opening
always signaled snack,
peanut butter or cheese

thick inside Premiums,
the closest we ever got
to serving hors d’oeuvres:
the redneck’s hardtack,
the cracker’s cracker.