fiction, poetry & more


by Joanne Jagoda

An older man in khakis and a Giants cap sits on a bench
in late afternoon sun
outside Whole Foods on Telegraph Avenue
meticulously stacking
slices of whole wheat bread
then placing one on a napkin

he cuts and positions slivers with his plastic knife
from a luscious avocado
perfectly split, pit left in
setting the pieces like a precious mosaic
then scooping the sandwich with the napkin
pressing the two halves together

over and over he does this
absorbed and content with his handiwork
on his whole wheat canvas
then swallows each in a few voracious bites
taking up the next slice
to begin his avocado dance again

I am mesmerized, envious
picking at my tuna on a hard French roll
having just come from the hospital up the street
refusing to eat in their cafeteria
though there’s nothing really wrong with the food
except for me wanting out of the building

my newly-discovered lump gnaws
an unwelcome foreign invader  
how did it worm its way
into my soft and sexy right breast

I throw away my half eaten sandwich
closing my eyes as tears pool
sweet memories tingle of fevered nighttime groping
and morning caresses under tangled sheets
I cling to my husband of forty three years

Tell me Mr. Avocado Man
do you come here every day
with your stack of bread and perfect avocado
show me how you make your sandwiches
help me to forget today
and what I must face tomorrow

After retiring in 2009, it took one inspiring writing workshop to launch Joanne Jagoda of Oakland, California on a long-postponed creative writing journey. Since discovering her passion for writing, she has been working on short stories, poetry and nonfiction. Her work has been published in e-zines and print anthologies including Pure Slush, Poetica, Persimmon Tree Magazine, and Still Crazy. Her blog, My Detour, chronicles her nine month treatment for breast cancer which she has happily completed.

August 2015