In the grease room’s dark

(somewhere above
the stacks of retreads and rings
of stockpiled air filters

and rough pine planks that sag
under cans of every kind of paint
failing to approximate a rainbow,

where the top shelf’s a stash
of Hustlers and Playboys,
the chew roll of Copenhagen)

a single valentine from the drugstore
is hidden, with not a smudge
of grease or dirt on it.

Would it be hyperbole then
to say turpentine and thinner
perfume the air;

say the cobwebs
are like costume jewelry
accessorizing the beams and rafters;

their specks of dust,
tiny rhinestones
after last night’s killing frost?

Even the dead flies
and drops of oil spilt from drums
glitter in the weak and dirty light.



This poem also appears in Allen Braden’s chapbook Elegy in the Passive Voice(University of Alaska/Fairbanks).



About the Poet:
Allen Braden is the author of A Wreath of Down and Drops of Blood and Elegy in the Passive Voice. The poems below are from the latter. He is the assistant poetry editor of A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments.


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