by Tom Kelly
bigger than a silo! bigger than a submarine! bigger than a skyscraper!
white hyper-masculine Mariachi attendants chant without interruption
as I’m divested of dungarees, dunked in a wooden wash bucket bubbling
beyond the lip, and scrubbed like an oily pelican with industrial loofahs.
My objections—gluten-free, anti-double dip, lactose intolerant Irish American—
stifled by a mustachioed gavel-banger seated on a high dive who rattles
every offense since preschool—crumb collector, leftover waster, kitten hater,
farter in the produce section without purchase of snap peas—and before
I can dispute my affair with a pregnant meteorologist for her Showtime
subscription, I’m sentenced to a burlap suit. I’m knocked in kneeling position,
carted on a wheelbarrow to mile-long lines of other burlap heathens
and—following foam noodle floggings—handed a shrink wrapped
bowl with odes to black bean, pepper jack, holy guacamole, and sacred
cilantro of this colossal burrito hoisted high on pulleys which spills
its sauce on and for all who pass beneath in pursuit of atonement.
Though the tortilla looks like a plush piñata from this distance,
I’m flanked by the Jumbotron Livefeed’s broadcast: a molten pillar
quakes and steams belligerent as a bull’s mouth to messages—
before partaking, one must chant; so I chant mystical redemption songs
for my manufactured guilt, knees dragged through salsa and chips.