Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2017  Vol. 16 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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From The Compendium of Romantic Words: Delicatessen

Noun. Notable for a sibilant elegance heightened
by the suggestion of cured meats. Not deli,
a vulgar nickname, a fly den, a swing-by, but
a long sigh of syllables, a time machine. Inside
its languid hiss: flannel suits, stenographer glamour.
When the word is uttered, a skyline materializes.
Shadows sift down. Caution: coworkers waiting
for coleslaw may glance sidelong and drift into desire.
Strangers may stammer and stare. Hunger governs
subtly (see: subtext; see: pastrami-on-rye-in-lieu-of-teeth-
to-collarbone). The bell that rings as the door opens
is a tiny secret symphony. A napkin to the corner
of a crooked mouth is a tie unloosed, a sensible shoe
finger-hooked then dropped. Delicate, of course,
means fragile. A word is a breakable world. The bell
will ring again on the exit. The lunch hour fluorescence
will blanch back to sunlight, fidelity, crosstown
traffic—but first, this final selection from the great
glass case: corned beef or egg salad, pimiento loaf
or tongue (see: delicacy; see: language; see: a tapering flame).  

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