In the community centers and church halls of small town Nebraska,
grief is an ailment best treated with white bread sandwiches.
Big plates piled high with deli meat,
yellow and white checkered cheese slices alternating around a circle.
A mound of mayonanaise, big enough to hold all the morning's tears.
Layer potato chips between slices for crunch,
that's the trick,
but when the bread mushes up and sticks to the back of your teeth,
you will know that healing has begun.

Great salads, in all their Midwestern glory!
Mayo, macaroni, jello, and corn.
All different, but all alike-
tossed together with care by one of the church ladies.
They hover by the iced tea, smile sadly over plates of cookies.
Angels of healing, nurses tending fresh wounds.
Someone, one of us, is gone,
and what else is there to be done?
Nothing can move forward, the future march of the village
all but blocked
until all the mourners have had a sandwich.