by Emari DiGiorgio

From Fall 2016

 The joke’s on me. No blonde. Her glossy, cream cheese-
 colored RV flashing neon, “Shake it Off” roaring 
 from the far end of the Walmart parking lot. 

 Instead of tank tops and lip-gloss, she wants to feed 
 her fans some doughy concoction that’ll fill their guts, 
 undercut heartbreak’s hunger. The 1989 special 

 with strawberry spread. I was eight then, long hair, 
 lip-syncing Madonna’s “Like a Prayer,” down 
 on my knees with a Conair brush, wanting to be 

 the beauty queens my cousins were, wishing 
 for breasts full and heavy as bagels. Oh Taylor, 
 swift us to paradise where a girl can eat her carb’s 

 content. Like once in that Rutgers campus parking lot, 
 Erykah Badu’s “Bag Lady” blaring from the small 
 horn mounted atop the red and gold diner car, as if

 it was Girl’s Day Out at the grease truck compound.
 We were looking for our trophies having made it 
 through the night unscathed, no man’s prisoner, 

 no small meal would do, only the blessed mother 
 of fat sandwiches. From my bra strap, I pulled 
 crumpled bills damp with sweat, and the queen cook, 

 a silk scarf covering her braids, gave me a knowing nod, 
 like one who has been on the all-night trek and passed 
 through the gates to safety, to this promised land 

 of grease and meat and cheese. Each wearing our 
 own crown of sweat curls, a day-old sheen upon 
 our brows, my sisters and I waited for subs the size 

 of sneakers to arrive in their checkered cardboard 
 boats. And that first bite–all-beef burger slathered 
 in red sauce, mozza, long hots, and topped with  

 steak fries–burst in my mouth, marinara oozing 
 from jowls. We licked the juice between our rings,
 running down wrists, victorious in our quest to be fed.