Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Late Lunch in Highland, Indiana

In Northwest Indiana,
they smash the burgers really thin
on the griddle,
which I imagine is blackened
with grease from 1972 and 1984 and 1991 and now.
Naturally it’s one of those faux ‘50s diners
with the black-and-white checkered tiled floor
and the white countertops and tables
and bright red barstools and booths.
They smash the burgers really thin
so that the edges,
which extend far outside the sesame-seed bun,
are charred and crispy.
The middle is juicy, though,
salty too,
blanketed with melted American cheese,
and the ketchup, mustard, lettuce, and onions
spill onto your plate or your t-shirt
when you take a bite.
They give you too many crisp yellow French fries
in a red plastic basket.
You order a Green River for old time’s sake.
Neon green bubbles rise to the top of the glass,
like the contents of a mad scientist’s test tube.
It is pleasantly lime-flavored
and not as overpowering as its color would suggest.
You shouldn’t eat the whole burger,
but of course you do,
and it sits, brick-like, in your belly,
and you feel like you won’t have to eat again for a week.
But you rummage through your refrigerator
a few hours later,
frowning at its contents,
as though you weren’t the one who put them in there.

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