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Friday, September 30, 2016


by Diane Raptosh

I'd been enjoying a duet
between the tufts

and driftless juttings
of the outer world

and a show
of images within,

waiting behind a line
of cars at the On the Fly Gas Station,

when finally it was my turn
to drift from my Corolla

and press
the levered nozzle

in its sugar hole.
I had found

beside my right
front tire, going

slightly bald, a 1978 dime,
one red plastic fork tine,

and a thinning globule
of car oil.

I had gone back,

to my final year
in high school

when my father was alive
and the future

floated like a set
of scare quotes.

The washing wand
worked its several rows—

sponged the windshield,
sluiced the rearview—

and I crooned some Gordon Lightfoot
in my father's honor.

When it was time
to pay, I stepped inside

the station, humming
a bar from Carefree Highway.

The TV-Adam's apple
troughed and peaked,

repeating state truths.
"True words end;

lies extend," suggested
that East African proverb

I had stored in a distant chink
in Mind's glove compartment.

I cranked up
the radio: Beyoncé's

placed on vocal rest
to mark her birthday.

Warplanes drop
chlorine bombs on Aleppo.

Today the Tao
has muscled up 35 points.

Diane Raptosh's fourth book of poetry American Amnesiac (Etruscan Press) was longlisted for the 2013 National Book Award and was a finalist for the Housatonic Book Award. The recipient of three fellowships in literature from the Idaho Commission on the Arts, she served as the Boise Poet Laureate (2013) as well as the Idaho Writer-in-Residence (2013-2016). She teaches writing and directs the program in Criminal Justice Studies at The College of Idaho.