Written on the Backs of Speedway Gas Receipts

Kilometers are shorter than miles.
Save gas, take your next trip
in kilometers. ~George Carlin

Tran# 237612
December 20, 2008

Just as I begin
to pump my gas
I look down
and realize
I am wearing
only a slip.
One by one,
in a show of solidarity,
other pumpers strip
to their underwear.
Only the illegals

Tran# 564441
January 12, 2009

The man
in the last pump bay
begins to sing
so loud and longingly
that we each file by
and drop coins
into his commuter cup.

Tran# 784115
March 18, 2009

Today, the station
is busy. There are
2 trapeze artists,
1 lion tamer, 4
midget clowns piling
out of an old
Alfa Romeo Spider,
1 disheveled ringmaster
and 4 snow removal
guys. The snow guys
are buying hot dogs
with mustard and onions.
There are 2 small children
sitting alone in a car
eating cotton candy
for breakfast.

Tran# 256114
April 4, 2009

2 dogs in the car,
3 bays down
are holding
a lady hostage
while her husband
pumps gas. They’re
roughing her up good.
They want money. I think
her husband is mouthing
Help Us. to me but,
I decide
to stay out of it.

Tran# 421587
June 1, 2009

The man at pump 2
is wearing a living room.
Soft gray walls, a blue
checked couch. A green,
gold and rust colored
throw pillow
down the front. No
He’s obviously used
an interior designer. He
looks like he wants to
invite me over.

Previously published in Clockwise Cat.

Grace Curtis lives in Southwest Ohio where she writes poetry and volunteers with The Antioch Review. Her chapbook, The Surly Bonds of Earth was the 2010 winner of the Lettre Sauvage chapbook contest. Her work is in numerous journals. Grace’s “Weeding” is also in Reprint.

Object(s) to bring back to life: “I miss the oddly fun, Corn (and other veggies) Line—the process my family used to prep, for the freezer, packages of vegetables. Middle kids cleaned, Mom and older kids blanched, Dad always cut, and the little ones packaged—my first lessons in teamwork and lean production.”