Napo 17

Today's prompt asked: Who shines in your city? My mind immediately thought of one person--the cashier, Courtney, at Willy Burger. She's always so amazingly happy, cheerful, and kind, no matter the circumstance, even after Harvey when it felt like the world was ending. It probably also helps that Willy Burgers are, well, miraculously good. And I say that as a vegetarian!  

Willy Burger. After Harvey

Do you ever wonder
How Noah and his wife
Felt getting off that ark
For the first time after the flood—
Looking up at God?

You sink into the dark wells of her eyes,
Relieved. So many refuges of comfort
Here in Beaumont have flooded,
Been washed out, destroyed.

But Willy Burger stands.
A beacon of bacon,
A sanctuary made of onion rings,
Dripping grease, malts,
A shrine to joy and comfort
For the weary survivors
Of this unholy flood.

The cashier’s eyelashes
Bat as she anticipates your order
And you let it fall from your lips
In prayer. Courtney nods.
She understands. She’s been through Hell
Too, just like you, but somehow,
She looks like a miracle—
Her make-up perfect,
Her white apron, unstained,
Her black hair pulled back
Shining underneath the florescent lights
With a certain holiness.

You wonder if she’s an angel,
Calling back your order to the cooks.
You ask her how she weathered the storm,
And she says, It’s all good, and flashes a smile,
And she tells you how her mobile home washed away
In the current of the ocean’s anger,
But Thank the Good Lord Willy Burger Survived.
So she can make the money to rebuild.

And all you can say is Amen.

You figure she must be an angel—
How she shines among the hungry pilgrims
Filthy with the mud of our flooded world,
The stains of water, blood and tears
On their clothes, who come here for a moment
Of normalcy, and Courtney,
She gives it with a smile,
And the cooks obey her every word
Create miracles inside that kitchen,
The smell of them wafting from the fryers.

She calls your number, says,
Child, your order’s ready,
And she hands you the flesh of her flesh,
The blood of her blood,
Stacked neatly on a tray,
and she smiles so bright
that you know tomorrow
will be better, and you remember
that covenant, that promise,
and you hold onto it,
tightly, that hamburger
dripping grease onto your hands,
and suddenly, you’re filled
with more than simple hope.