Pretzels by James B. Nicola

Before the angels rose I rushed the gate.

Would I make it? Couldn’t tell.

Security was running late.

Then wheeling round, I saw—D-8.

Aha, I was on time. Just then a smell


of pretzels slowed me down, combined with wurst.

What good those Huns had given us,

I thought, with a shudder at their worst.

I had to make my flight though, first,

and raced on, only to wait: The flight was


delayed! So I went back and watched a spell—

the rolling, twisting, done by hand,

the dipping in the butter well. . . .

then thought, had Hitler sought to sell

pretzels and sausages from such a stand—


Even a twisted artist manqué would

have found fulfillment—and success—

with fresh-baked pretzels half this good

to sell in every neighborhood.

If only I’d been there to tell him this.



James B. Nicola has had poems appear thrice previously in Inkapture, and recently in the Southwest and Atlanta Reviews, Orbis, Rattle, and Poetry East. His nonfiction book Playing the Audience won a Choice award. His first full-length poetry collection, Manhattan Plaza, is currently available; his second, Stage to Page: Poems from the Theater, will be out in June 2016.