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Chain Restaurants, Reviewed by Poems: In-N-Out Burger photo

Animal style: mustard patty,
extra spread, griddled onions.

Baby style: all over the damn floor.

Toddler style: negotiating a cocoa
in exchange for three more bites
then cheek-storing the bites
until the cocoa arrives,
then spitting out the bites.

Martha style: some kind of experiment
in finding the perfect In-N-Out order
which ends up being lots of single veggies
in waxpaper bags. She should give up—
you cannot improve on the double-double
animal style. It’s the LeBron James
of fast food burgers.

California Style: stop for potty later
at the Jelly Belly factory, where the pizzas
are jellybean shaped and jellybeans can taste
like donuts and “Nasty Girl” plays
in the caseload room where fart beans
are on closeout. Then south to Oakland.
Watch the hills turn Windows XP green
and play Fleetwood Mac loud enough
to get the kids to sleep. Absorb it—
this is the extra spread you can put
on your Culvers-at-best life once you have
to leave California and these kids again.

Nostalgia style: you miss your Double Double
before you even take a bite. You know
burgers become slimy wax paper crumbles,
babies become toddlers, toddlers become
kids, friends become long distance friends,
If you don’t love me now, you’ll never love me
again, I can still hear you saying you would never
break the chain.



Address: In-N-Out Burger: 130 Grass Valley Highway, Auburn, CA, 9560
Eaten: 2 double-double animal styles plus another with tomato, pickle, and lettuce on the side for some reason, 1 plain cheeseburger, 3 small fries, extra spread, a hot cocoa which is free for kids on rainy days ($26.39)
With: The poet and Kara, plus Martha, the baby, and the toddler
Why: Getting towards the end of our trip to visit Martha and her kids, who won’t stop getting older.