November 23, 2020
You’re sitting at a dining room table in a small house in South Minneapolis, after a dinner for one of leftover beans and rice with some steamed broccoli and water to drink. There was some cornbread in the freezer so you warmed it in the oven. It ended up hot, but very dry, so now there are crumbs scattered in a rough semicircle around your plate. The tablecloth is a dark blue with small, faint stains from who-knows-what, grease or wine spills from happier times. After clearing your dishes, you come back to sit at the table because, as usual these days, doing any dishes— doing anything at all— in the evenings is a chore requiring more effort than is available. You know you should at least clear the crumbs from the table, but instead you lean forward and rest your head on your arms in front of you. You close your eyes. The house is quiet. Slowly you open your eyes, like a curtain rising on a stage. The blue cloth holds at least a dozen cornbread-crumb performers holding a pose in front of you. On the radio, the Temptations begin to sing. The salt shaker looms. The crumb dance begins.