The fish spits
hot oil onto my palm
as I drop it 
into the fryer
neither fish nor fryer
cares how many degrees
hang on my wall
I hear a table break
into a turkey
-gobble laughter
pint glasses in their rack
kiss each other on the way
to the dishwasher
eggs waiting to be 
taken go cold
a waiter drinks a whisky 
shot and snorts 
cocaine off a clean plate
I squirt mayonnaise
onto a hamburger bun
and in so doing earn
another fraction of a cent
I sharpen my knife 
open another bag of chicken 
breasts to cut into
eight ounce portions
I often wonder what those
chickens would be doing 
if they hadn’t ended up 
in this kitchen giving 
everything they have
to the fryer

Derek Annis is the author of Neighborhood of Gray Houses, which will be released by Lost Horse Press in March, 2020. Derek lives in Spokane, Washington, and holds an MFA from Eastern Washington University. Their poems have appeared in The Account, Colorado Review, Epiphany, The Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review Online, Spillway, Third Coast, and many other journals. To preorder Neighborhood of Gray Houses, visit

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