The History of Roland Food Corp.

A peculiar assignment:

   the few surviving images

    of a family import business

mustachioed grandfather

    dapper in a starched collar

holding the baby,

now grandfather,

young Charlie


And decades later,

      after Nazi confiscations,

         prison camps, escapes

      to distant borders,

the establishment of a family

in New York, Hudson St.


The stationery survives as well

    as do the combovers, wide lapels,

frumpy labels of hand-canned

artichokes, green peppercorns


as if they aged so quickly


And at some indefinite moment

the ancient past becomes

the just-over-yonder

color photographs of Midtown

booths at the trade show

     women with modern haircuts

   seated around a table

old Young Charlie

   in the corner

      looking perhaps a little


     certainly stern, stentorian,



These photos are his collection

from a chain of lives

in faded cryptic languages,

elaborate green and blue calligraphy,

on ledgers of sales to Taiwan,

western Virginia, Germany

            even the ends of the jungles


funds, coalescing slowly

  in the account of

a few survivors

huddled away a hundred feet up

pinched in offices

formerly of the Masonic Lodge

in New York City, America


wondering if this is the last chapter.





-DF. the AOC


One response to “The History of Roland Food Corp.

  1. You can’t have it all, but there’s this. Really enjoyed the hand-canned artichokes and peppercorns. And the way “ste-” holds on, only to be ephemeral — vaporous.

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