pay first, then pump [Poem] by Ben Newell


I’m at #5,
pumping $15 of regular unleaded
into my old Civic.

There’s a hot brunette at #6;
I try to make eye contact
but she fails to look my way,
seems much more intrigued
by her iPhone.

Despite my morning depression,
I consider a comment,
some cliché one might try
at a bar—

“You come here often?”

“What’s a nice girl like you . . .”

But this CEFCO is no bar
and I haven’t inhaled enough fumes
to infuse me
with adequate courage,
just a mild headache
which will only worsen
at work.

Throbbing and pulsing and pounding
until I duck into a stall
and think about the brunette
while pumping something else.

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