Eight months went by and we were still eating toast.
Sugar, honey, jam, butter, margarine, cheddar, mustard, marmite
sometimes it felt like I invented toast, like toast
was my morning, evening and lunchtime mistress.

Months later, when I couldn’t see her any more,
I did not want to see toast, did not call her,
ask if I needed to pick up any bread
on the way home from work.

She once asked if we had toast in America.
“Darling,” I told her, “in America, we have everything –
even Bruce Springsteen has written about toast.”
And I quoted Springsteen lines about toast:

“Bobby’s been working the Smithtown line,
come home like a man in the evening,
his wife’s out making her time;
he’s eating toast tonight,
eating toast tonight.”


“Toast on Mary’s table,
coffee in his cup,
big house up past the stables
Pa’s dreamin’ to move up.”


Hey, Hey, Sherrie Baby,
you shake like toast.”

There is a reason no one has ever heard these songs, I explained
and we ate quiet then. Quiet as coughs in church,
quiet as her father’s pork chop judging me chew.
And had the Boss written about toast,
I could have put the album on, turned it way up
and not heard the crumbs scratching her dry, dry throat.