The poem uses metaphor, imagery, stanza and punctuation to create the effect of a father reflecting on his son growing up.
The first literary device present is a metaphor. The bread conversation is a metaphor for the relationship between father and son. “Don’t fill up on bread” (line 1) is an echo of childhood, a reminder of the relationship they used. The poem’s theme is that once you are a parent, you are always a parent.
The poem uses imagery such as describing the son as having hair that “may be/receding a bit” (lines 4-5). This sensory detail makes us see the son, and picture him as middle-aged. The ending, “I sometimes start to reach/for his hand” is another image that we can see. It too is subtle, but we can picture the father forgetting that his son is older and reaching out to him as he did when he was a child and they crossed the street.
Finally, notice that the poem has no punctuation except for the question mark, and is broken up into three stanzas. The first stanza focuses on the father, and the second the son. The third stanza is the father’s reflection.
Hershan, Robert. "Sentimental Moment or Why Did the Baguette Cross the Road?" Poetry 180 -. Web. 16 May 2012. <http://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/070.html>.