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by Michael R. Burch
There is no sense of urgency
at the local Burger King.
Birds and squirrels squabble outside
for the last scraps of autumn:
remnants of buns,
goopy pulps of dill pickles,
Inside, the workers all move
with the same très-glamorous lethargy,
conserving their energy, one assumes,
for more pressing endeavors: concerts and proms,
pep rallies, keg parties,
reruns of Jenny McCarthy on MTV.
The manager, as usual, is on the phone,
talking to her boyfriend.
She gently smiles,
brushing back wisps of insouciant hair,
ready for the cover of Glamour or Vogue.
Through her filmy white blouse
an indiscreet strap
suspends a lace cup
through which somehow the nipple still shows.
Progress, we guess, ...
and wait patiently in line,
hoping the Pokémons hold out.
NOTE: This poem is almost entirely fiction. There was a Pokemon craze when my son Jeremy was a little boy, and I did see birds and squirrels foraging in parking lots from time to time (and sometimes fed them myself from my car’s window), but everything else is fiction. On the rare occasions that I went to a Burger King, I would go through the drive-in, so I wouldn’t have known who the manager was, or how much time he/she spent on the phone. I think the poem probably started with the image of birds and squirrels squabbling for scraps of food in a parking lot as I waited in a line of slow-moving cars, then evolved as I imagined the hassle of going inside to “speed things up.” Keywords/Tags: America, Americana, American, culture, society, vanity, youth, progress, fast food, video games, Pokemon, MTV, music videos, glamour, models, supermodels, fashion, transparency, see-through, bra, breast, nipples
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