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I'll have a Burger with a Side of Coronavirus – Sue Fagalde Lick

The diner is silent at noon,

dark, cold, tables bare.

Light leaks out of the kitchen where

Jorge stacks dishes, scrapes the griddle,

stirs the chowder and chicken soup.


I wear my old blue coat for warmth

and clutch my stained white coffee mug.

Come in, they said, come in anyway.

You can serve the takeout line.

Germs? No worries. Wash your hands.


The kids are with my mom today,

missing school, already bored. They say

folks could be trapped at home for months,

but I need my pay. Yet what if I catch

something in this damned greasy spoon?


The phone! At last. Let’s get to work.

“Are you open today?” they ask.

“Only for takeout. What’ll you have?”

Shit. The bitch hung up. It’s noon.

Jorge sings and stirs the soup.


Sue Fagalde Lick loves to cook and loves to eat. A former California journalist who escaped Silicon Valley, Lick lives with her dog, Annie, in the forest on the Oregon coast. Her books include Stories Grandma Never Told, Childless by Marriage, and the novel Up Beaver Creek. When not writing, she sings and plays piano, guitar, and mandolin at church, where, thank God, Catholics don’t fast as much as they used to.

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