We stop at a Wendy’s outside of Pittsburgh
Because you want Real American Fast Food ™
And I prefer the red-headed girl over the red-headed
clown. I don’t want to sit in a drive-thru
explaining the Baconator to a Viking
and you need time to scrutinize
JBCs and Spicy nugs
and other exotic fare
in a fully authentic way
by mauve tile circa ‘92
and grease-laden air
so we go inside.
We aren’t in a hurry. We have time for you
to ask if they have french fry sauce or
hamburger sauce or chicken sauce or
other extremely literal and specific sauce
like you’re used to at home.
It’s only fair because I looked at you
like you had five heads when
you got me excited for spaghetti and then
you pulled out a bottle
of ketchup and squeezed it over
the noodles. Tomatsosa was not
the tomato sauce I expected
then I told you about spaghetti sauce
and since its name is literal I am surprised
you didn’t already know that one. We
are both learning.
The woman behind the counter drops
something and bends to pick it up
as we approach, rising with a grunt. I say
ya got butter fingers today?
and chuckle, like any corn-fed midwesterner does
and she chuckles back and says it’s just
one of those days, which is one of several
acceptable responses like
another day in paradise
or the recommendation
don’t get old, kids.
These are things we say to each other
in places like Wendy’s in Nowhere,
Pennsylvania where grass is tall
and talk is small
and everyone feels familiar.
You stand back and wait while I
go through the motions just like I did
when we are in Haugkaup buying groceries
and I felt like a bobble-head and a butchered
takk fyrir is all I had to offer.
As we are leaving with our sack
of, silver-wrapped treasure
you ask a question that’s been on
your mind for the last ten minutes.
Do you know that woman
in the Wendy’s?
Jasmine Williamson lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with an entomologist and a violinist whomst emerged from her womb. She hopes to one day own taxidermy frogs playing poker. You can read her words (soon) in Hearth & Coffin, Sledgehammer Lit, and Selcouth Station. She internets as @mosscollection.