Fried Pickles
by Kevin Ridgeway

we bushwhacked through the hungry hoards
of the Texas Roadhouse, a glass display case
greeting us with cuts of meat bigger than
my elderly grandmother
my guide shouted prime rib recommendations
as we navigated the peanut
shell covered floor to our booth
and struggled to have a conversation over
the hundreds of voices bellowing out
of watering mouths, a basket of fried
pickles on the table in between us

the dill and batter dipped in Horseradish
dance with our tongues and we
forget what we were even trying
to talk about as the shells on the
floor crunch underneath a parade
of cowboy boots belonging to people
who are lost and cannot find the exit
in this maze of red meat and appetizers
the fried pickles we casually pick at calm the
frustration of not being able to

this roadhouse does all of
the talking as steam and smoke
climb out of the double doors
leading to the kitchen, and whatever
we had to say can wait as a
smiling beauty approaches us with
a round tray with our parts of the
cow sizzling and still cooking with

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