Two Poems

Whitman in McDonald’s

He squeezes the armrest as we pass
the mall. A sign says
“When only a diamond will do.” 

Do what, he asks, eyeing a guy
with a backwards cap. When
we arrive, I offer him

the drive-through or the sit-down. 
A bee, he wants to enter
the flower. I rave about the fries,
but he won’t eat, hopes
a farm will pop out of the kitchen. 

Did Lincoln die for this, he asks,
heading to the car, a sugar packet
stuck to his shoe.


Lost in the Upper Peninsula

When my car goes kerfluey
on my way to Lake Superior,
I don’t worry about a bear,

running out of food and having
to eat pine needles, or freezing
to death (it’s July)—but how

tiny my car is under
gigantic trees. As night aches on,
my car becomes the size

of a quarter, then a dime—then that
of a needle’s eye.  How lucky
not to be rich since they stink at

getting into heaven—what if
this is my last night?
Nobody will even find

my car that has disappeared
under butter-and-egg roots. I’ll
be a story told at work, forms

for my partner to fill out,
Superior shining in morning light
as if nothing’s happened.   

—Ken Pobo, Media, PA