June 11, 2011

Cindy Beebe

WHILE I AM DRIVING IN THE MORNING
I CALL MY FATHER AT WORK

at the Exxon station, where my father who is 71 years old
would hang around joking with the guys
piling off truckbeds
at 8 a.m. to buy burritos until Emily

the boss offered him a job cleaning the parking lot,
and he could use the money, and besides, he says
the perks are great,
he gets to take home the expired
chips which are only a little bit stale,

and his voice is shaking as it is 9
degrees out on the apron,
and people are slobs, he shouts, but what can you do?
What do you do but keep your back to the wind, or the wind

at your back and isn’t that an Irish blessing? Isn’t that a thing
to not forget? And something about the sun

to remember when you are surrounded by Hefty Cinch-Sak
extra large garbage bags
waiting for you to hoist them into the dumpster,
like feeding the Kraken.
Not the actual Kraken though.

One of its local representatives, like Elvis in Japan.
Ubiquitous, I mean,
Elvises in Tokyo, Hiroshima,
loving me tender and you with your rock
of an old Nokia phone shoved up under your toboggan,

here we are again. That place where the words
get tangled in the trees. Like wounded birds,

I mean that stretch of road where I can barely hear you,
which is okay,
it’s the same old song and dance anyway,
you saying baby I have to get back
to work.

from Rattle #34, Winter 2010