by Tom Barlow


Two trillion black holes in the process
of devouring their galaxies, with planets
uncounted and who knows how much life
but I am waiting for my order of

a Chicago-style hot dog and that draws
my focus in from the tragedy of the cosmos
all the way down to this sleeve of sandwich,
a small simple thing I can comprehend,

not inscrutable like how the dust of stars
becomes a tomato, a pickle, a hand to hold
the sandwich. If the cook chooses to explain
celestial mechanics as he fishes a couple of

sport peppers out of a jar that's fine; I will
lose my attention anyway, for my stomach is
growling like those stars and civilizations
as they disappear. I am ignorant in so many ways,

but I do know enough to recognize hunger is
destiny when I look up at the night sky.

Tom Barlow is an Ohio writer of poetry, short stories and novels. His work has appeared in journals including PlainSongs, Ekphrastic Review, Voicemail Poetry, Hobart, Temenos, Redivider, The North Dakota Quarterly, The New York Quarterly, The Modern Poetry Quarterly, and many more. See more at