Original Pizza, 9514 Avenue L, Brooklyn • Meri Fleischman

I never eat the pizza folded
like the men in the booths talking loudly.
I keep the pizza flat and take bites;
shiny cheese slides off the crust,
golden bubbles disappear inside my mouth.

Folded pizza is boring—
cheese hidden, grease never reflecting the sun,
only crust shows: brown, slightly burnt;
it never tastes as good that way.

There is no door, just bars that roll up underneath the sign—
I watch the people walk outside,
wonder why they aren’t eating pizza,
how could they pass by
the smell of charcoal and oregano,
and the pictures of Italian ice—
vanilla, chocolate, rainbow.

I walk down avenue L
slurping rainbow snow,
squeezing the paper cup
to reach the bottom
while my mother walks slowly past each shop,
looking at clothing and pocketbooks
through the windows.
I stare at my reflection, smile at myself
eating ices on a summer day,
feel the heat from the sidewalk
rising, touching me,
then flying over my head
into the sky.


Meri Harary Fleischman lives in Connecticut with her husband and four children. She is currently a student in the MFA program at Southern Connecticut State University, where she received the 2012 Leo Connellan Poetry Prize from the Connecticut State University System.