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MERCY / Bruce Weigl Enough snow over last night's ice So the road appears safe, appears As a long white scar unfolding. Ohio, cold Hawk off Lake Erie, And only enough light to see vague outlines: The castle-like shape of mill stacks And the shape of gull wings Dipping to the parking lot for garbage Lashed this way and that by the wind These nights have in common. I pumped gas from five to midnight For minimum wage Because I had a family and the war Made me stupid and only dead enough To clean windshields. When you clean the windshields of others You see your own face Reflected in the glass. I looked and saw only enough hope To lift me car to car and in between I breathed the oil smell and the fly strips And the vending candy air. The Gulf sign clanged in the gale. The plate glass strained like a voice I thought would shatter Yet still cars came: dim Headlights casting the snow into a silver sheet, Then the fenders like low clouds, Then the bundled families And the hushed sound When father opened the window And slipped me the money for gas. Only a second when our eyes catch And the kids are quiet And the wind shows some mercy Do I know I am even alive. The Missouri Review ยท 39 ...


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