Pizza Man by John C. Mannone

When not studying
for exams from expensive books,
he guards the oak wood flame
that tempers the brick hearth
walls, its smooth stone floor—
soot scraped away. He thinks

of Robert Frost, his simple poems
while tossing the pliable dough,
shapes it to fit a circular pallet,
brushes with a branch of rosemary
dipped in garlic-infused olive oil
until it glistens in kitchen light.

He spreads a dollop of red sauce
all over, before slices of Roma
tomatoes nestle into the mixture,
then fresh clumps of mozzarella
marry the ample flesh of dough.
He dresses it with broad basil leaves

before sliding the supple pie with
a flick of wrist—the disc obedient
to the laws of physics—into the hot
smoky breeze. He admires the work
of his hands, his creation inhaling
oven-air. He watches it come to life.

What is it of desire
          that patience would admire
               more than this?

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