“Lunch Break in America” by Gina Tranisi

Gina Tranisi


I’ll have a burrito bowl. White rice. Black
beans. Fajita veggies. Double protein. Double
back. Half-scoop of pico. No, I want a bowl of
broccoli cheddar. Not an apple, a baguette on
the side. I said a bowl of hot sad. I said a
Mediterranean bowl. Quinoa. Chickpeas.
Cucumber salad. A bowl of overturned
stars. Not stars, salmon. I want a poke bowl
with upstream fish. White rice. Wasabi mayo.
A bowl of fixed-blade knives. A bowl of billboards
for missing women who are becoming dead
as we send words back-and-forth inside
this speaker box. This metal order machine.
This Tupperware container of my voice.
Might be the last thing anyone hears
from me. So, an order of asada. I said a bowl
of bullets. Not a cup of guns. A bowl. A howl.
A howl of nightclub neon. A tourniquet. A bowl
of grandfathers who salute shots fired against
tyranny. A tyranny of Jell-O shots. A blue raspberry
rifle. A stiletto glitter shoe, stomping teeth
on beat. No beets. A beating. A bruise. I want to eat
a bowl of unbearable. I’ll need utensils, too.
Did you hear me? I said I want the corner
of an American flag to wipe my hungry
bloody queer star spangled mouth.

from Poets Respond
November 27, 2022


Gina Tranisi: “Another heavy news week in America, and I find myself wishing I lived in a country that loved me back. I want a soft life. I want to dance. I want to sing. I want to buy my groceries. I do not want to fear being swallowed by the mouth of a gun. Because of my girlhood. Because of my sexuality. America loves putting our lunches in bowls. I wish we could order bowls of gun reform and LGTBQ+ rights, have them delivered to the doorsteps of Congress. Since that’s not possible, I collected all of these wishes of mine and put them in a bowl, I mean, a poem.”

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