Hamburger Stand

The slow ember burn of a cigarette night
lurches its way to the time-safe hamburger stand.
It’s just a little red shack napping on the back road
of a small mom’s-youth town.  Still, its call reaches
out to the bicentennial highway, lapping at the ears
of those trucking visions of hot popping grease
and fries.  Clenched-stomach truckers make
unplanned left-hand turns, beating back the
dirt road, their headlights fanning out
across the once-cut wheat like waves finding
the water-worn beach at midnight.  The goddess
of ground beef, big of hip and thigh, sets
her thick elbow on the counter and asks
for several patties thick and sizzling.
We’ve got hungry goateed mouths to feed,
she says. Bikers and tourists kneel and salivate,
holding out their handlebar hands, looking
askance for ketchup and mustard.  But the
goddess returns no onion.  Her empty-bun
cry repeals all ablutions.  It’s just ice-cream,
she says, going pink and cool at the center.
It’s just ice-cream.

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