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[randomly selected from all my photos here]

The Potential of Maple (by Josh Mandel)

We made enough smoke
in the kitchen
to crowd out the pluming tension
with burned bits of pancake
caked dry on cast iron
never quite cured,
pluming wisps that mounted
as if handsome decoration
artfully diffusing foyer light,
as if to be displayed
next to a stolen hotel bathrobe
and the towel with my name
sewn in near the corner
from summer camp.

If I'd had my way
we would have eaten at that
restaurant with picnic tables
and plastic cloths
and the petting zoo just outside the dining room
where for a quarter you could buy a handful
of animal feed from a candy machine
and let the sheep gobble it up,
the kind of place that's only open
two months a year
when the sap's flowing
and the stove's burning
with the subtle-sweet scent of maple
just shimmering in the air,
and you can order a stack of pancakes
big enough to pop your pants' top button.
You would have been a smash hit
at the placemat anagram contest,
could have probably found a hundred words
in maple syrup,
beaten my grandparents' score
of seventy-eight and been
immortalized with a thumbtack above the cash register
where people wonder what's the difference
between fancy and medium grade,
and what about maple sugar, and
maple butter, and how many words could be
hiding, jumbled in a simple phrase.
[randomly selected from 21 poems/paragraphs here]

(who the heck... ?)