Blue Plate Special

i. McDonald’s

Epitome of devil may care
is strutting to Mickey D’s,
buying a Big Mac, extra-large fry
and the biggest chocolate shake,
paying in dollars and change
cup holders have collected—just because
you could, because $8.98
wasn’t enough to fix Mom’s car
or buy enough Fireball to kill
drunk daddy, but you could lose
yourself in each chocolate dipped
fry, in licking fingers clean
of secret sauce.

ii. Conjoined Taco Bell-KFC

I’d eat for $3 at Taco Bell
and feel burrito-full all day,
even if I crapped clean
each weekend. I can’t starve
through human anatomy,
thinking of chicken breasts
and crispy crunchy skin.
When midterms come back,
if I get an A (let’s be honest,
a B-), I’ll splurge at KFC,
and munch popcorn chicken,
trying not to think of eyeballs.

iii. Little Caesar’s

The school nurse says my son’s fat,
my daughter too thin. I don’t explain
how after football and drama club, I tell
my kids the house smells delicious—
veggie soup that’s mostly cabbage,
but I describe the sweet savor of beef bits,
carrots (leftover healthy snacks,
but at $5 a bag, they will be eaten),
and kale because it’s a super food.
But Mom, can’t we have pizza?
Yeah, they have a special on garlic crust!
Please, today was so terrible. Can’t we?
What else can I do once or twice a week
to make them smile? How can I help
that my daughter takes half a slice
while my son scrapes
cheese off the cardboard?

Phoebe Wagner holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Environment and now pursues a PhD studying environmental literature at University of Nevada, Reno. In 2017, Upper Rubber Boot Books published her co-edited anthology Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk & Eco-Speculation, and she’s contracted for a solarpunk book from West Virginia University Press. To follow her work, see or @pheebs_w on Twitter.

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