A Minor History of Potato Chips


Ray Liotta was listening     to tapes of Henry Hill talking     through a mouth 

full of potato chips     to the FBI     around the same time I     high and hunched 

over a bowl of Lucky Charms     was listening to my father     lecture me on sex     

at 2 o’clock in the morning         home early from his shift     to have the talk     

his friends had urged him to give     pacing and waving his hands     I have to be 

a mother and a father he said     as he spoke of love     the importance of it     

when it came to     

                               rolling my eyes     crunching the hard marshmallow clovers     

like so many potato chips     I tried to muffle my hunger for other things     

a new bike     a bigger room     better boys     and since I didn’t get any of them     

what I really want now     is for Ray Liotta     to be writing this poem for me     

to be reading this poem to you     for him to say     how my dad said     

It’s alright roll your eyes     Love will be more important 

than you think     Especially for you 


Tina Cane is founder/director of Writers-in-the-Schools, RI, and serves as poet laureate of Rhode Island. Her books include Once More with Feeling, Body of Work, and Year of the Murder Hornet. Her novel-in-verse for young adults, Alma Presses Play, was released in 2021.

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A Minor History of Potato Chips

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