On my way up north I stop
to fill the Honda up. I like to time
the emptiness so I can fill it
at my favorite place: a Chevron with a taqueria in the minimart
where the Honda can suck her liquid meal
of prehistoric trees and mammals
while I go inside and buy
a vegetarian burrito sin queso sin crema.
Pero con guacamole? My favorite cashier
asks. Yes. Por favor. Con guacamole.
And joy is a stupid thing
untethered to language or insight—
oh we’re all lead-footing it
toward a precipice of violence and loss—
yet still I order my vegan burrito at the Chevron
and eat it across the street
in the empty parking lot
of the Jehovah Witness Meeting Hall
beside the overwatered lawn.
The view of the filling station’s
back, the semi-trucks pulling
up the ramp, and I
eat crouched there on the curb.
I use the plastic bag as a plate.
Stupidity, the way I said, or joy.
Mortality, I guess. Something
rooted in me that greens itself
because I’ve been here before
but I stopped again
all the same.
Lisa Allen Ortiz is the author of Guide to the Exhibit, winner of the 2016 Perugia Press Prize and two chapbooks: Self Portrait as a Clock and Turns Out. Her poems have appeared in Colorado Review, Zyzzyva, and Beloit Poetry Journal and have been featured on Verse Daily and in the anthology Best New Poets.
This is Lisa Allen Ortiz’s third appearance in TLR. You can read more of her work here.
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