Gas, 1940, by Barbara Crooker
Pegasus, a faded red, about to fly off
into the sky, which stretches above the dark
pines, the rural road running by, a river,
all curves and meanders. The white paint’s
flaked off the wooden shingles,
and the Drink Coca-Cola! sign is stained
with rust, but the light in the window
casts a yellow glow on the cement.
I think my parents are about to cruise up
in their Buick, a big gray boat of a car,
the one that was up on blocks during the war,
and they have no idea what darkness lies
up ahead. She’s happy, leaning back
on the plush seat, the night air riffling
her page boy; he leans his arm out the window,
the ash of his cigarette eddying to the ground.
The lone attendant fills their tank, checks the oil,
wipes both windshields until they gleam, then returns
to his metal chair, his solitary vigil, keeper
of the lighthouse, pilot of the night.
This poem was previously published in Barbara Crooker's book, More (C&R Press, 2010). Click here.
Barbara Crooker is the author of eight books of poetry; Les Fauves is the most recent. Her work has appeared in many anthologies, including The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Commonwealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania, The Poetry of Presence and Nasty Women: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse, and she has received a number of awards, including the WB Yeats Society of New York Award, the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, and three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowships in Literature.
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