Poetry at the Burger King
Prose from “ A Little In Love A Lot” , Poems by Paul Hostovsky
Poetry at the Burger King.
Where is it? It’s not here.
All these plastic chairs and tables
are empty. Nothing but a lot of
dead meat here, and this associate
behind the counter mumbling: Welcome
to Burger King, may I take your order?
Mine is the only car outside in the sad
parking lot ringed by a handful
of gimpy trees, a blue dumpster in the corner.
Beyond that, the highway where I
came from, and where I will return.
If your daily life seems poor, said Rainer
Maria Rilke, do not blame it. Blame yourself.
Tell yourself you are not poet enough
to call forth its riches. I’m fingering a salty
corner of my empty French fries pocket,
licking my fingers, looking out the window
and telling myself I am not poet enough,
when I notice two kids running, sort of
galloping, sort of hopscotching across
the sad parking lot ahead of their parents
and into the Burger King. They are
very happy to be here, this little girl and boy,
jumping up and down now at the counter,
dancing to the song of the associate
which wasn’t a song until their dancing
made it so. there are so many riches
on the menu, they can’t make up their minds.
And while their parents order they play
duck duck goose, touching all the tables,
and all the chairs, the girl behind the boy,
following him, copying him and laughing
louder and louder, because it’s all so wonderful
here at the Burger King, which they seem to have
all to themselves, except for one man in a booth
smiling, writing something down on a piece of paper.