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Mojave: Last Stop For Gas

Freda Mooney

it is so defined in dirty
oil soaked smells
a man in once blue coveralls
now grease stained
underarms white
with salty brine
spittle of tobacco juice
stains gray-brown beard

he contemplates a rainbow
in the oil slick garage floor
the levelness of the driveway surface
like a rebuke
to the dent in the service truck doors

old dog resting
quite comfortably
next to a pump
odor of gas intoxicating
unrolls eyeballs
in the scalding scene

no shouting here
in the laziest day
no clank of a pump

just the rational whine of a power mower
two blocks down
cutting a straight swath through
discouraged grass

a plastic air hose poised
in a coiled sidewinder sleep

the man slowly looks to the west
the promised land
of gold and riches and mountains and sea
for just a moment
he dreams of leaving this place

seeing past the landscape behind and under
the cracks in the plaster
of the sandy floor

full of nitty-gritty anxiety
where time passes hour glass slow

an unruly gust of wind
creaks the weathered sign overhead

the highway stretches as far as man can see

shiny trucks float delicately
clawing at the dust and heat
away from here
go ~ go ~ go
tires sing
keeping time with the manīs unspoken thoughts

the roof displays
the same slant of avoidance
to the hot desert sky

a dusty black Ford pulls up to the pump

he spits
greasy hand wipes haphazardly at his weathered face
as he walks reluctantly to the car

the dog licks the manīs hand
in a half hearted somehow, comforting way

both are lost
to an endless duplication of life and objects

where sand is time
and the grains fall slowly

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