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September 10, 2018 Poetry

In a Shell Station

Corey Oglesby

In a Shell Station photo

I like to say I hate it when people say this,
but sometimes it really is what it is,
like the man in front of me in line
buying two 99¢ microwave cheeseburgers
and a bag of cheeseburger-flavored chips,
and how I want to put him in a poem,
complicate my understanding
of his life a little bit, at least give him
something better to love
this much about cheeseburgers,
but there’s nothing I can do,
and nothing the cashier can do
but ring him up and comment on the snow,
and nothing
for the extremely Idahoan couple behind me to do
but shift in their cowboy boots, looking
completely gorgeous,
the way the snow falling outside is gorgeous,
all snowy around the gas station pavilion
like little shredded pieces
of my attempt at trying to describe it,
here in the shut mouth of the moment,
among grinning rows of spring-loaded cigarettes
and dud scratch-offs all rolled up
beneath the coin-scratched hockey pond
of the glass counter top,
and Bonnie Tyler, somewhere,
blowing her voice out with such intensity
that the kid with the gun has to shout twice
before any of us notice him.

 

image: Aaron Burch


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