Terry Minchow-Proffitt, "Gasoline"




Blame’s got little to do

with how he proves his mettle 

tonight in the back parking lot 

of the Holiday Inn.  It’s not the pot, 

his exhausted parents, the sagging small 

town on the brink.  Stark prospects alone

can’t say what praise and only praise knows: 

his obeisance stoked by the jumpy gods  

to seethe by day and drag the night.

In stacks and frayed bell-bottomed denim

he ducks behind the rear

bumper of a ’73 Cadillac Coupe Deville:

chrome rocker molding; soft Ray

tinted glass—the same late model and make

his father vowed just last week 

he’d one day bygod own.


In the moonlight a green garden

hose stems out and over the Caddy’s Ohio plates.  

Down to his knees, he sucks 

hard in the hope this time 

he won’t swallow—and prays,

lit lanky in the blessed heat of mine and take,

prays it’ll all be better, prays pray for me:  

praise, praise his sky-blue bug on full,

praise the lucent June night,

praise Cherry Street stoplight by stoplight, 

praise stolen looks at girls 

he’d never dare ask out,

praise Big Star in his ear,

high test in his throat, the scent

of gasoline everywhere

dripping stout from his hands.



Terry Minchow-Proffitt’s poems have appeared in Arkansas Review, Big MuddyChristian Century, decomP magazinE, Deep South Magazine, Desert Call, Freshwater, OVS Magazine, Oxford American, Pisgah Review, Prick of the SpindleSt. Anns Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Wild VioletWords and Images, and The Write Room.