Bread because my brother is always hungry, always demanding food and he’s figured out that I have been flipping over leftover heels of old bread for his sandwiches.
Mustard. Yellow is cheapest. Brown is my brother’s favorite but you didn’t send money this week so I can’t afford it. If we buy the big jar of mustard, it will cost more but last longer.
Ham. A slimy patina of grease has developed on the last of the lunch meat and I wipe it off with a paper towel before serving it to my brother, hoping we can last two more days until the church brings the monthly food box.
Coffee, for endlessly refilling mom’s cup as she sits at the table reading fan fiction, losing herself in a world where Spock and Kirk are lovers and the companions from Doctor Who have crossed over into Middle Earth and are falling in love while destroying the one ring. I refresh her coffee again and again, lingering to catch a glimpse of words over her shoulder, blinking away from the smoke spiraling up from the cigarette in the thick snot yellow and green ashtray my brother made in ceramics class.
Pasta because it fills my belly and even if we don’t have sauce, I can cover it with margarine and eat until my stomach paunches out and tell myself I just need to keep eating, keep filling the empty spaces until you finally come home.