Hungover at Hardee’s

By AJ Olsen

there is no god and never was
no big bang neither
no cosmos
no ancient or modern world
no homo habilis
no occam’s razor or foucault pendulum
no war of eighteen-twelve
no texas two-step or lyres of ur
no camshafts or subcutaneous anything
no ne’er-do-wells,
no single apple hanging in a leaf-bare tree near blackfoot, idaho
no idaho
no yards-after-catch receiving record

no showing off at freeze tag and skittering across the schoolyard playground, scraping my ten-year-old body across the asphalt, screaming like a cougar in darkening woods, earning humbling goodnight kisses from my mother’s silhouette, then sleeping against the pain like a dying old man

no, nothing like that
no memories
no time
no nostalgia stitching one to the other
because this universe has been imagined
from me
by me
this mid-saturday afternoon,
this beer-sick malaise
this quarter-pound cheeseburger at
this one-patron hardee’s in green bay, wisconsin
this familiar sensation all over again
this enduring suspicion that I do not exist

AJ Olsen-Headshot-The Brooklyn QuarterlyAJ Olsen’s stories and poems have appeared in The Austin Review, Real South Magazine, Bone Parade, Blue Moon, and elsewhere. He earned an English degree from Fordham University in New York City and a Master of Liberal Arts degree from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. He is an MFA candidate at Florida International University in Miami and resides in Hollywood, Florida.

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