Mother says we smell of money
if we traipse dripping our fortunes
on the wood deck, and leave
boots and flannels to crust
in the sun.
Crude doesn't smell how I thought,
but bites clean my brain like smelling salts
popped and waved.
But I always enjoyed the gasoline
Lowell'd let spill in the day of full-service
fill 'er up, and a swipe
at the bug-spotted window.
I thought the Redhead was my father,
his side job to own
a gas station and come home
late and tired and oily.
Gallop up a leaning ladder to the tank
top, bong across like playing
a giant saw with different tones
dependent on the depth, the fluid
sloshing in, and if I fell
through the manhole I'd drown
if oil just topped my head.
I pulled the dip rod high and looked
up into the silhouette, the shiny black
with rainbow glisten too tall
too straight too far up in the blank sky
to let me keep perspective and I wheeled,
whirled, fell on steel,
laughing at my lost equilibrium.
He couldn't help but swallow the rainbow
hidden in the spray. Rubber packing
like sliced-in-two wigwams gave way and, pressured,
flew past his startled nose and up
the brassy sleeve and up
to horseshoe grab the pony cables.
And we stood soaked, adorned in prisms
and gasping at the fumes.