Poem: Petroleum


Sept. 9, 2013

I felt that I was smelling through my brother’s nose of twenty years ago
Thirty years ago
I felt that I was smelling the oilfield equipment
I felt that I was riding in his truck
Delivering parts and tools to oil drillers in the California desert
I felt that the pungent petroleum reek was comforting and familiar
That I had a paycheck
That I was going to have to bear with the dust
And the ignorance of the people
Of the men I was working with
And the brilliance
The occasional flash of bright eyes and a perfect grin
Smeared in grease
A man working out here, from somewhere, on his way to somewhere else
Better than me, or so he’d think
I felt that I smelled through my brother’s nostrils
As I passed a petrochemical stand
On an empty road in northern Texas


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