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Filling Station

 Oh, but it is dirty!
--this little filling station,
oil-soaked, oil-permeated
to a disturbing, over-all
black translucency.
Be careful with that match! Father wears a dirty, oil-soaked monkey suit that cuts him under the arms, and several quick and saucy and greasy sons assist him (it's a family filling station), all quite thoroughly dirty.
Do they live in the station? It has a cement porch behind the pumps, and on it a set of crushed and grease- impregnated wickerwork; on the wicker sofa a dirty dog, quite comfy.
Some comic books provide the only note of color- of certain color.
They lie upon a big dim doily draping a taboret (part of the set), beside a big hirsute begonia.
Why the extraneous plant? Why the taboret? Why, oh why, the doily? (Embroidered in daisy stitch with marguerites, I think, and heavy with gray crochet.
) Somebody embroidered the doily.
Somebody waters the plant, or oils it, maybe.
Somebody arranges the rows of cans so that they softly say: ESSO--SO--SO--SO to high-strung automobiles.
Somebody loves us all.

by Elizabeth Bishop
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