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Poem: Eating Out 

Like a moth to the grease fire, I head inside
to the counter to look at the menu, at thick
oiled sandwiches and half-chickens, skin

almost crisp where it’s blackened, the result
of charring and steam tables, at combo meals.
I try to catch the cashier’s eye, but she spits

out her spiel while staring away at wall tiles,
looking down now and again to press buttons
with pictures on the semiautomatic register.

Here, at this place, the mavens of eating locally,
of regional cuisine must arrive, touch their lips,
and head to their cars to MapQuest a bistro,

as I should, looking around at this place, a place
like the place near my home, far away, also filled
with fluorescent lights, French fries, and strangers.
  • A poem by John F. Buckley.

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