Queen's Quarterly

Queen's Quarterly
Queen's Quarterly

Hospital Food

Nick vanOuwerkerk

Thirty years in the Navy,
so I understand his affinity for the food.
He empties a shaker of salt
into his hand –
too much comes out if you pour it –
and dumps the lot onto his grey dinner
One thing about this place?
The meals are terrific.
A jeezly piece of roast beef,
So tender
I take my teeth out to eat it.

He tosses a few extra grains of salt
over his left shoulder,
onto the blood pressure machine.

For good luck.


Nick vanOuwerkerk is a new high school teacher in Prince Edward Island. He was nominated for a PEI Literary Award in poetry in 2020 and has publications in several journals across Canada. He lives in Oyster Bed Bridge, PEI, with his wife and two huskies.