Todd Mercer

Where I’m at ‘Til Medicare Kicks In

I don’t care whatsoever
if you would like fries with that,
but I’m obligated to ask those who order
through that crackling speaker
and pull up to the window of time
where my life is at rock-bottom
and I’m sixty in a drive-thru gig.
I am sixty taking orders
from children and customers
who are always right, kow-towing
to Kevin, who is twenty-three
and has a couple C.C. classes
already knocked off. He’s our manager.
I accept it, don’t like it much
in my secret heart of hearts.
Take the fries, pass on the fries.
Even Kevin can’t care deeply.
The request is an up-sell technique.
Marketing experts know about the guests
who arrive planning just a burger, or a burger
and a soft drink. They have me ask
because of wide-spread weakness out there
for more fat, more salt. Invites to gluttony
from a disembodied voice. Friendly-Gramps tones
from a safe distance convince most to cave.
Would go ahead and do what you would
truly like to do? Either way is no skin off of me.


Todd Mercer of Grand Rapids, Michigan was nominated for Best of the Net by in 2018. Mercer won 1st, 2nd & 3rd place of the Kent County Dyer-Ives Poetry Prizes and the won Grand Rapids Festival Flash Fiction Prize. Recent work appears in The Lake, The Magnolia Review, Praxis, and Softblow.