Matthew King

Conversation on an Old Gas Station

“They’re putting in a new one over on
the bypass—saw them breaking ground last week.
I’m not sure where the diner folks have gone.
Back to the city, maybe. Awful bleak,
now that the town’s cut off, but what the hell
are we supposed to do? ‘A new career’?
Commute because we can’t afford to sell?
The road that drives us out’ll keep us here.”
A calm has come that money couldn’t buy,
I think, but wouldn’t dare to say out loud,
a respite interrupted by the sky:
“Looks like we best be moving on, that cloud
is coming fast. How long you think we got?”
Across the shell of earth, a crack—it’s hot.

Matthew King used to teach philosophy at York University in Toronto, Canada. He now lives in what Al Purdy called “the country north of Belleville”, where he tries to grow things, counts birds, takes pictures of flowers with bugs on them, and walks a rope bridge between the neighboring mountaintops of philosophy and poetry. His photos and links to his published poems can be found at