If I Had It My Way, Burger King Would Be the One We’d Remember
And McDonald’s would be the one we’d remember to forget.
Because when you think about Burger King, you think about, you worry about,
Passed on for restaurants that ain’t even all that good, just placed within the best options
to be/look prettier.
In the background, Burger King sits so dustily on the bookshelf’d sides of the interstates.
Pull out a power sprayer to beck away at her dinge.
Her size can be measured in years—1989—and she hasn’t changed much, since.
Children never ask to go to Burger King, and that’s how you know it’s bad.
You only ever go to Burger King when you’ve grown tired of everything else.
Always with an I guess, and never with an I know.
II. Burger King Been Seasoned, Though
But she has given you so much, remember?
How the Spiderman Spidey-Sense Scratch-Off promotion prompted you
to give, and give, and give so many of your dollars for a chance to win?
How you once gave her more than what you would actually receive?
How the smells that swifted off of the grill often held a realness to them.
When you go back, you find that the scent is still there, still heavily-seasoned,
and seductive as before,
but now Burger King has made herself too tacky, and so cheap,
and goddamn girl, have a little pride.
She has done what she did all so that you may remember her.
But this has only made you forget her even more.
III. Burger King Feeds You To be a Well-Fed Woman
Hold a Burger King burger in your hands and you will find that she
It’s the potato’ed pack-ness of her fries.
The way they are made fat enough to fill you.
You sip your coke to think, to digest.
Wait…I know good and well…
And you say this like you never even knew.
You say it like you have forgotten because you did.
And what’s good about McDonald’s, anyway?
Strip it of its yellow arches and double-lanes, and just how damn many there are
And what is left?
A fry that colds-up, crisps, and corpses
When they fall under the driver’s seat, you find out that they are really toothpicks,
made for picking things out of your teeth, and not pushed back between them to find a
place down, and within your body.
And you eat a little bit more, and you eat a little bit less where there’s nothing left.
And you remember.
At least for now.
At least for a little while.
IV: How You Think of Burger King as a Black Woman Even Though it was Created by a White Man, Too
You can’t explain why, but you feel like McDonald’s is a white man that everybody
rushes to, and wants because they sit in future stars-to-be-born neighborhoods.
Burger King makes you think of Black Women because no one cares to take care of her,
where she is often abandoned in neighborhoods where surely nothing nice could
ever come from.
Watch, fuck up once if you’re a Black Woman, or as many times as a Burger King has,
and see how the crowds die down.
How the audience becomes a busted-up parking lot with one, maybe three cars parked
you have to ask for ketchup.
At Burger King,
the ketchup is already in the bag where a Black Woman with sunshine eyes compliments
She says, it’s our natural beauty that makes us who we are. We don’t need much.
We already look good!
You respond with, Period!
At Burger King, you both share your sunshine with each other, knowing that this is the
only way that it should be.
That Black Women take care of each other by the sharing of sunshine.
It is no longer just yours,
It is no longer just hers,
how we keep each other well-fed in this way,
because otherwise no one else will give us any.
V: What’s a Fool to a Clown?
She was your King,
so desperate for you, that she told you that you could have it your way, and any way
that you wanted.
Now, she is a fool,
has made herself into a fool for a fucking red-faced clown.
You “Scales of Justice” this thing out.
and them both being the same, right?
Aren’t fools and clowns the same…right?
VI: Remembering to Forget You So That I Won’t Be Forgotten
Beside Burger King, they are building a Popeye’s,
and this is how you know no one will ever go to her again.
and you don’t look back.
The beauty of a Burger King’s is that it can hold the smallest bit of sunshine for a while,
you don’t return.
Because if you stay here for too long,
in the neighborhoods where nothing nice can ever come from,
near the bookshelf’ed sides of the interstate where Kings fall from thrones to wear the
crowns of fools,
you will begin to be forgotten and left here, too.
Exodus Oktavia Brownlow is a Blackhawk, MS native. She is a graduate of Mississippi Valley State University with a BA in English, and Mississippi University for Women with an MFA in Creative Writing. Exodus has been published or has forthcoming work with Electric Lit, Booth, West Branch, Tri-Quarterly, F(r)iction and more. She has been nominated for Best of The Net, Best MicroFiction, Best Small Fictions and a Pushcart Prize. Her piece “It’s 5am-ish, And My Father Tells Me A Story From His Time in Singapore” is included in the anthology Best MicroFiction 2021, and her piece “Chicken-Girls and Chicken-Ladies and All the Possibility of Pillowcases will be included in the anthology Best MicroFiction 2022. Exodus adores the color green.