Poem About McDonalds

when i was young,
my mom would take me
to mcdonalds every saturday
while my dad & brother
went hiking with our friend Craig.
i would order the usual,
(six chicken nuggets, honey mustard, bbq sauce)
eat the skin off each one
then count the number of bites
based on how many nuggets i had left.
six nuggets left – i’ll eat this one in six bites. five nuggets – five bites. so on.
like all things,
this ritual ended
when Craig moved to san diego
& i grew older,
& my brother was busy with school & dad
was busy too.

i imagine myself –
adulthood just out of reach –
dissecting each nugget as if
the restaurant were a morgue,
& think there must be a metaphor in there
somewhere, that this nostalgia somehow means
something, that i could reconstruct this memory
& publish it in POETRY or The New Yorker
or someplace.

of course,
these are always empty threats.
there was never any poem
in that place –
dad was an alcoholic
& Craig was a coke addict
& my brother had cancer
& mom was always stressed with work
& the nuggets were always
slightly too cold anyway.

do it.
write this revisionist romance.
open your mouth
like a wound.
chew on this memory
& make it nothing.
swallow it with your pride.

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