Value Menu by PW Covington

Sometimes, I get too big for the world
My problems
Grow so large
That I must go out
Down the street

To the fast food shop

I will choose an item or two
Of some value menu, fried food
Just before noon
When the line is full
With hurried diners
On lunch breaks
From jobs they hate

“2 dollars and 98 cents, please”
The counter clerk will say
And I will riffle in my pocket
To produce quarters, dimes, and nickels,
Down to the last three pennies
Exact change is the only way this will work
It takes a while
So,  I begin sharing
All about the troubles of my day
The fears I can exorcize no other way
Padding the tale with back-story
I mention peoples’ names that no one here knows
The “I do not give a fuck” look on the worker’s face
Is a god-send, as I lay coins on the counter
Line-standers behind me exhaling and shuffling feet
Impatiently, unwillingly, receiving my confession
Then, instantly, tossing it into the rubbage bins behind them

Perspective attained for less than three dollars
Less than 400 calories, if I order right
Less than two minutes…too long, really, for my fears and minor miseries
The fast food workers let me know
The line behind me, lets me know

And as I lay the last few coins on the counter
I smile at the refreshment
That comes from no longer
All that
Loose change

I walk away with a paper sack, full of reconciliation
My sacrament complete

pw covington

PW Covington is a disabled veteran and convicted felon. His work has been published by both universities and underground ‘zines. He travels widely, but lives in rural Texas with his bulldog, Chesty.


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