Facing the Last Hamburger

June 6, 2008
By Julie Tran, Everett, MA

His mouth waters
Clear puddles of saliva forms at its corners.
With his dirty sleeve,
He quickly wipes them off.

The aroma is so fragrant and familiar
So substantial,
He could devour the air.
It forms in his mind
On a white, lit background,
Enhancing every detail.
Perfection.

Then he is in a dark crowded factory.
The scent of dead, spoiled meat
Races up his nostrils
Making him choke and gag.

Massive skinned cows hang
From the low ceiling on sharp, rusty hooks,
Dark blood dripping
Off the hoofless legs
To the filthy, crappy, slippery ground.

He hears a gunshot,
A simultaneous long loud moan.
Then a dead cow,
Going into surgery
Rolls on a pushcart in front of him
It’s helpless sad eyes
Staring at him stupidly.

As it passes,
It’s long lanky tail, sweeps the floor
Leaving a dark trail of fresh blood behind.
He screams,

And he is back.
He tries to open his eyes
But they seemed to be glued shut
By his tears.

He forces them open
And sees it.
The chunk of brown, chewy, over-cooked Muscle
Between two sloppy buns.

To his horror,
It was bleeding from the side.
It was only ketchup.
He threw up.


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