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Chain Restaurants, Reviewed with Poems: Cracker Barrel photo

It could be my last quiet night: I’m off work
at four, your mom is in class until nine. 37 weeks.
All day I look forward to hours of empty house
then I’m there and the whole place itches. I go
not home but the place that tries so hard to feel like it.
As always, the rifle hangs over the fireplace. As always
the bathroom is under the stoplight. A sign in there
says “do not leave baby unattended.” Good advice
is everywhere these days. As always, the receipt printer
spits out my seat. As always I order the same thing
and it’s the same delicious as always. No, earthquake—
I don’t dread your arrival. I’m in awe of your power
to alter, to knock the world’s rocking chairs out of line.
That you’ll disarray even a place so perfectly same.



Address: 1421 SW Ashworth Pl, Topeka, KS 66604
Eaten: Chicken Tenderloins Dinner with honey mustard sauce. Sides: double green beans and turnip greens (with hot vinegar sauce). Yes biscuits. Grape jelly. Diet Coke. Something like 13 bucks.
With: The poet, alone
Why: Hanif has a new poem in
Poetry, and the only place to buy it is the awful Barnes & Noble in Topeka, and while I’m there, might as well