April Ossmann
April Ossmann
Guaranteed Ten-Minute Oil Change
What belongs here is lungs exhausted
by waiting cars,
oil-dark hands flashing in dim light;
concrete floors cold even in summer;
grime-stained waiting chairs;
smudged air from today’s
and all the years’ cigarette smoke,
and from the near, incessant traffic—
in our ears the all-day whine
persists in echo all night.
What doesn’t belong here
is a grown man’s tears or fainting
even once—twice is reason to retire—
to recuperate “away” or finally rest;
what doesn’t belong here
is the misfiring of language,
memory, and motor skills—
and the kind of anger engendered
by a fellow’s misfortune
on display—the felling
of the chain-smoking, capable manager
of our performance-awarded regional team;
what belongs here is the slamming
of the hood on a job well-done—
what doesn’t is the bending knees
and pitiably un-drunk walking of Larry’s legs:
wavery mirror in which we wish
to see no selves, least of all our own.