Sestina for Hooters
Some of it was expected— the girls,
in their Tamara panty hose— sickly orange
legs, the same color as the buffalo wings,
serving cheap beers to bores on sad afternoons.
We knew about the clichéd booty baring uniforms—
What we didn’t expect were tables full of families.
Or the entire softball team, and their families,
eating like this was a place you should take little girls—
fake breasts parading in too tight uniforms,
people with bad taste swallowing piles of orange,
while they drink away their summer afternoons,
claiming, “I only come here for the wings.”
As if by using the pathetic pretense of wings,
you could erase that fact that families
are not meant to spend their Sunday afternoons
in sexist chain restaurants, admiring girls
who have no problem being seen wearing orange
or working a job that requires hot pants as a uniform.
The iconic owl stares from each perky chest with uniform,
creepy, “O” eyes that seem to say, “eat more wings.”
And suddenly, I feel like I’m being swallowed by orange.
A woman in a wheelchair smokes outside as families
stare plaster-eyed at football, ignoring the girls,
who don’t even bother to flirt for tips in the afternoon.
We both agree that we’ve had better afternoons,
as we note the nuances of the Hooters uniforms
worn in the photos of the international pageant girls.
Your burger is so bad that you can’t eat it, and perhaps wings
were actually the way to go. I mean, all of these families,
seem happy, their fingers and faces all slathered in orange.
And really, what’s so bad about orange?
It’s the color that adorns late summer afternoons
and recalls those lazy days spent outside with our families—
Except that this is not the shade of the uniform.
It’s not even a lively hue that sometimes peppers parrot wings—
It’s the unfortunate tint of a too tanned Jersey girl.
And I cannot accept this orange, even if it is a uniform.
It’s like a bad Wings song blasting on a too hot afternoon—
Music adored by clichéd girls who feel rejected by their families.
The trailer park simmers—
Mr. Pink slices
strips of darkness
by the crossroads.
A ranch hand scrambles,
marinating in trashy
love, wedged between
Republican jerks scratch
dirty puppies, drinking
against her skirt,
shredding tender fires.
Saturday’s treats dip
Into delicious choices—
sugar or chocolate
monks or Democrats
hot or slow roasted.
It was all pink bubbles—
evening forgets troubles, sometimes
they dissolve in his eyes.
Noodles twirl between rhymes like strands
of stray hair in her hands.
Hot broth warms, the crowd stands and waits,
a chef perfects his plates.
A macaroon creates surprise,
beautiful in bite size—
nutty flavors reprise and shine.
The finale divine—
a glass of rosé wine doubles.
In places like these, the Christmas lights will always stay up
year round— framing bare trees in fuzzy reddish glowing.
Wishes are wrapped in Gouda and basil and star clouds.
He only likes talking about what is happening now.
I only like talking about what’s happened before.
He asks questions I don’t or won’t answer…
except for one about the old man and his
motorbike parked in the tree shadows.
I say that this might be the last decent
meal we eat on this too long street.
Sometimes there are blue dogs.
There are always wet dogs.
Pine nuts love pineapple.
Bacon loves coconut.
Apple loves soda.