American Pie

by Dustin Michael

''NOBODY wants those middle slices,''
my future brother-in-law scoffed,
relating the United States to a Sicilian
pizza. ''Too bland. Too
doughy. The good stuff,''
he said,
''is at the edges.''

But a slightly different pie arrived
on the checkered tablecloth
of my mind: middle slices sagging,
soggy, submerged; many other slices
dry, crusty; top slices very
cold; one whole side frequently
on fire.

Furthermore, this pizza clearly
had been ordered
by two very different people,
who probably should not
be sharing a table,
much less a pizza:
one person
probably wanted this pizza
to be exactly like the pizza
his great-grandpappy ate,
and will try to scrape off
and send back
any unfamiliar
toppings.
The other is like,
cool,
with whatever.

''Yes,''
my future brother-in-law repeated,
''bland and doughy, my friend.''

Then I remembered
he has never been to the Midwest,
nor was there any pizza nearby,
and he was staring
right at me.

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