I like to eat hot dogs. Each lunch I sit down with my tray overflowing
jumbo ones in their too tight buns.
I close my mouth around the unprotected ends and
sever them, chomping on the encased middles last.
She points with her red-tipped middle finger and says “you know, the way you eat that means you’re too aggressive,
and no man likes aggressive.” So I wipe my unclean hands on my guilty napkin and try again tomorrow,
the day in which I meticulously slice
my naked franks into equal parts, stabbing
through the heated flesh and she raises her button nostrils and sniggles “you’re a manipulator, and all men want a manipulator,
but only in bed for a night or two,” and I let
the pieces roll into the yawning trash, feeling the few I ate compelled to follow,
but tomorrow comes and I sit across from her with my plate void of pleasure,
A flattened plain hamburger overtaking the center. I meet her curious eyes and gently
nibble the invisible corners. Hers widen,
lips parting as I sit with it poised to my teeth,
“And what?” I prompt, but she says nothing. Mutely she holds out a packet of ketchup; I reach,
fingers trembling until they touch; I can read the future
in the exchange of plastic and red and fingers and no laughter or words,
but gazing eyes and I nibble on in the tubeless silence.