Once, behind the deli counter,
there was a 4-foot salami.
The centrepiece of the display.
when the first customer
asked for eight razor-thin slices
for a sandwich.
Still larger than life.
took another few slices.
This one wanted twelve
to send with her kids
That one, thirty for a party.
One even ordered a-pound-and-a-half
for a corporate luncheon.
I see where the salami used to be.
Only the tail end is left;
a shadow of its former glory.
Customers ignore it,
look for another chunk to sink their teeth into.
Once, in the heart of Ottawa,
there was an Experimental Farm.
(Editor’s note: poet Shai Ben-Shalom, an Israeli-born biologist, examines current events in the Blacklock’s tradition each and every Sunday)