Sharing Hummus with Jack Hirschman

Sharing Hummus with Jack Hirschman
by Jessica Quick
I snuck into the VIP room of a poet laureate reading in downtown San Francisco. Tickets were 150 bucks, but I managed my way into the event with my best impression of a cow-eyed cigarette smoker returning from intermission. I came to the event alone. Downstairs in VIP, I busied myself with all the free wine and appetizers I could consume to avoid direct mingling. After two hours, I was sharing hummus with Jack Hirschman, who in my state of mind was Lawrence Ferlinghetti. I tried to think of something poetic to mumble in his direction: something mysteriously terse, but suggestive that I was a wayward wanderer en route to becoming the next poet laureate some 40 years ahead of my time. He’d probably appreciate that I snuck in. I inched closer.
“Great hummus,” I said.
“Yeah, not bad.“
He eyed me, while grabbing a small handful of crackers. I stood unblinking, unable to stop smiling. He chuckled, shrugged his shoulders and disappeared among fists of wine. A frozen moment passed and I mechanically shifted my arm to reach for more crackers. Munching cardboard, I contemplated the expanding universe and other reductions much more pressing than any moment in the sky.

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