Article body


As compact and canny as a bomb, the salt shaker made of glass takes its

rightful place at table. You could slip it in your pocket and feel

dangerous, let it settle beside a book of matches from the Baudelaire

Hotel. When it’s by your plate in the early morning it makes you think

of snow settling inside a globe, of the half light of grainy

photographs, of stars ground with a pestle. It makes you think of pure

idea. It’s a perfect paradox of energy and calmness, of modesty and

conceit. It’s what you’d place beside a candle at an altar. Though

humourless, it makes you question why you always trust there’s salt

inside it. The small holes on top are what you’d punch in a container

that holds an animal, so it could breathe.


The spice inside the pepper shaker wasn’t mined in caverns where men die

daily, or dragged from the wild waters of the sea. The berries from

trees lined up in rows on some plantation, dried and ground, make this

shaker seem less prone to speculation or surprise. Still, what we see

through the glass could be crushed cinders from a railroad track or

gritty seeds the shadows of dead lilacs scatter in the wind. The

shaker’s constant presence at the table shows the tongue’s unworldly

desire to become a martyr, to translate a flame. It’s an hourglass

without a waist, measuring, with grains of midnight, the little time we

have left to eat.