Effie was tiny as a troll, but she could make
canned applesauce taste like marzipan.
Chowder down, little ones, she’d say,
it’s love on lettuce. You want cow? Go to Denny’s.
Truckers followed their noses to see what drew
the crowds: mint tabouli, samosas, eggplant curry.
Tastier than Red’s ribeyes, they’d whisper
to each other. Smells better, too.
Tourists passing through on Peter Pan buses
often forgot their fares after second helpings
of chocolate mousse Grand Marnier.
Who wants to see Gettysburg? said Land’s End
to Eddie Bauer. It’s all over anyway, and they waved
their tour buses away. Let’s gore a winter squash
and wear it as a hat, said the grayheads
drunk on bourbon cheesecake.
Effie let them rooms above the café, put aprons
on their waists, and in the quiet after work
told them stories about the war when
her only meal was lice on her daughter’s scalp.