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Detroit Grease Shop Poem

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Written by Philip Levine

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 Four bright steel crosses,
universal joints, plucked
out of the burlap sack --
"the heart of the drive train,"
the book says.
Stars on Lemon's wooden palm, stars that must be capped, rolled, and anointed, that have their orders and their commands as he has his.
Under the blue hesitant light another day at Automotive in the city of dreams.
We're all here to count and be counted, Lemon, Rosie, Eugene, Luis, and me, too young to know this is for keeps, pinning on my apron, rolling up my sleeves.
The roof leaks from yesterday's rain, the waters gather above us waiting for one mistake.
When a drop falls on Lemon's corded arm, he looks at it as though it were something rare or mysterious like a drop of water or a single lucid meteor fallen slowly from nowhere and burning on his skin like a tear.

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