The Innisfree Poetry Journal
by Ellen Sazzman
PUMPING GAS 1956
The smooth scent of gasoline infuses
the air at the corner Sohio station.
I languish between Dad and Mom
on the leather front seat of the '56
aqua-finned Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight.
Dad rolls down the window, tells Bob
(his name embroidered on his pocket)
to fill ’er up with premium.
Despite the promise of full service,
Dad stands to sponge her windshield,
check the oil, talk transmissions
(Dad who soothed cars and women
but never earned a living). Mom waits
patiently, reading her Ladies Home
Journal (the latest advice on how to gel
Ambrosia Cabbage Mold). I breathe in
the magic potion of her White Shoulders
and his AquaVelva (sweet ferment
of their short-lived matrimony);
and I fidget in the warm middle,
pop out the dashboard's chrome-knobbed
cigarette lighter, bring it to my nose tip,
and stare cross-eyed at its red-orange iris.
Her eye glows hard at me, not blinking, never
giving away the secret of the superheated ring.
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