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Guest Writer

Not mere luxury anymore
The unreliable toaster
by Kathleen Sullivan

y brand new marked down to 50 dollar
toaster with the cord
placed in a ridiculous position
still burns and undertoasts
with the defrost button.

This defrost button came about
when I revealed how I toasted bread frozen,
living alone,
I can't go through it fast enough,
each morning breaking off one or two
slices to placate my breakfast desires,
toasters are not mere luxury anymore,
so in this dinosaur of a downtown department store,
the kind thriving before
the advent of strip malls and discount shopping,
this tired and conveniently cheerful employee,
working no doubt for not enough money, in the basement of kitchen appliances
with the whiskey smoke voice
of a woman who frequents race tracks
suggested my updated version
that back home, still comes out one side too dark.

I realize the inherent deceit of the modern toaster
and even if I had gotten the 300 dollar toaster I'd asked for
in a postcard from that cowboy from the city of Pittsburgh
who whined all week about how he
wanted it back but didn't want it anymore,
I'd probably not be satisfied, even though I
had started thinking about the gleaming chrome wide-slotted baby after
a week of catering to and serving between meal
scrambled egg sandwiches made to order for
vacationing businessmen from the city playing cowboys
on the isolated mountain ranch where I was playing cook,
hoping despite
how the married one who made me laugh the hardest
I'd ever had sober,
that the one single man that week would somehow be
attracted to me, despite my not being a blonde beauty,
the kind of woman normally attached to the arm
of an ex-college football hero, who drinks his scotch
neat and sucks and chews imported cigars
who sees the future in Home Depot Management,
despite all we'd never have in common in a million years,
the hug that night after dinner lead me to touch
the steely girth of muscles across his back
making me hungry to feel his weight on me.

Left me thinking about this giant sized man
fighting his ex-fiancee over a toaster
so expensive
I could not imagine
what I already envied.

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