Ode to Dug
by Dante Di Stefano
I could die there at the Chevron Food Mart,
be reborn at the Kangaroo Express,
and die again at the Oxford Gas Mart.
I could die eating chicken on a stick,
make art from clogged arteries, and express
the perfect poem in the shape of thick
sweet potato fries. I could die between
the aisles of beef jerky and Valvoline.
When I die, the guy behind the counter
has got to be named Dug, spelled D-U-G,
and he’s got to smile, so as to counter
the somberness of all mortality.
Dug, let my life be like catfish deep fried:
crisp, good, dashed with hot sauce before I die.
Dante Di Stefano currently works as a high School English teacher in his hometown of Binghamton, New York. His work has appeared most recently in Poetry, Quarter After Eight, and The Hollins Critic, and he says this poem is part of a collection that connects his travels in the South and the great people he’s met.