Petroleum Moves Us Toward The Inevitable Mistakes Of Our Lives

by Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick

In a Toyota lives a stranger carrying hope
& the Book of the Dead;

you said you’d read it once
& the way out of your self was to break
skin through a wild animal, lure

it to your suburban garage with rituals, cat food,
an uneaten pot roast from the night

the husband spoke of the other’s body,
a sacrifice. The way pump-jacks move
erotic & slammed to kissing, the gentle

illusion seas make of shorelines, a return
to idiocy, the lull of again & again.

Even oilfields bloom just right
when you look to soften a heart
broken from aborting a marriage.

Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her first full-length book, Before Isadore, is forthcoming with Sundress Publications and she has two chapbooks in print with Thrush Press and Mouthfeel Press. She is an associate poetry editor for The Boiler Journal. Her work has appeared in the following: Devil’s Lake, Night Train, Versal, Sugar House Review, Four Way Review, among others.

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