Howard Firkin
            To George, who is the Harry
of the neon Harry’s Pizza Bar,
I am a lousy forty cents of chips,
                  no vinegar.

            As regular as flies
I am to George. I sweep aside the strips
of greasy plastic which repel the flies

            insinuate my way
around the income-earning Harry’s Specials
and the fish and chips for six again tonight,
                  and two coin order

            him prepare my fly-speck
snack, in brazen disregard of George
and George’s mortein ire. Some nights he tries
                  to underfry…

            I only have to raise
my eyebrows over bug-eyed spectacles
for George to scowl the little maggots back
                  to feast on fat.

            Outfoxed, he snatches for
his vinegar; a token threat as vain
as all the pest strips of his summers past,
                  but comforting

            to George as he cocoons
the little chaps in paper and disgust
and swats them down before me on the counter,
                  always missing.