Janice D. Soderling

The Pegasus Man: Gas; Edward Hopper

Surely that man at the gas pumps is my father,
slim in his Sunday vest and uncomfortable tie
and bursting with force vital.
He was always looking in the wrong direction.
Notice how he turns his back on the encroaching forest,
baleful as Birnam Wood gone astray.
Ah, he was a valiant man, a ladies’ man,
his winged red horse ready between his legs
and high-flying feats in his mind. All the ladies loved him
except Lady Luck. Such crackpot schemes he had.
Build a gas station, then wait for a road to come along.
Anyone with half an eye could see
that only disaster would drive by there.
Even the light has tumbled out the door
and lies unmoving on the concrete.
Even the weeds along the ditch are screaming,
Fire, fire! Get away from those gas tanks, Jack.
But no, he has put himself in hock. The bank owns half of Jack.
His tight-lipped spouse owns the other half.
He doesn’t know that yet. He thinks he is a free man
riding his winged horse.


Janice D. Soderling’s work is recent or forthcoming in Rattle, The Evansville Review, Flash, Alabama Literary Review, Dark Horse, Modern Poetry in Translation, The Rotary Dial, Measure, Think, Wasafiri, Per Contra, and Hobart.

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