On Sunday nights my father would make a plate

of vegetables on an extra-large serving plate.

Carrots, cucumber, green pepper, radish and a

giant beetle, just kidding, were served up weekly,

and often with a tub of dip in the middle,

either a clam or shrimp variety, which my father

made with cream cheese, the canned seafood

with a little of the reserved juice, chopped onions,

and some Worcestershire and lime juice. We’d sit

around the plate like it was an offering to a king

or queen, and wait for our father to signal that we

could touch it. I remember eating the carrots

and staring out the window at the mobile home

across the street and trying to see through the siding

like Superman when he’s hovering above the city

with his hands on his hips looking for trouble,

since my father had told us carrots were good for

eyesight. “If I eat enough of them, will I develop

x-ray vision?” I said. “It’s possible,” he said. So,

I kept eating them while imagining the connections

in my eyeballs firing with golden light meant to

transform my ocular nerve into a kind of long-range

x-ray machine. I was intent on walking off the cliff

at the edge of my ordinary humanity, and flying

like Jonathan Livingston Seagull over the ocean

while looking to pull the bullets out of a war

like the one that could happen any day now in the

Ukraine. Then, I don’t know when it happened,

but at some point, probably when I realized perfection

was unattainable, I stopped believing in the whole

x-ray vision thing, and carrots, usually the cooked

variety, became one of those things you eat and don’t

spit out when you’re over a friend’s house and don’t

want to insult his family’s cooking.