We Filling Station

Sarah McCann

Two scientists decide they can make peace
in five minutes─ to zero
the zoo of death in Israel,
where the taxidermist is highest paid.

I make peace with grappling
you in the raw glass of snow.
Icicles unfurling their flicker-tongues
in the sun, of the twigs, the benches, just left.

The cold is too cold to come outside.
The old couple next door has not taken
their hands off the heater in two days.
They watch their vine outside irretrievably die. Shrivel ash.

The dog fell down the stairs today.
In a tumbling, gripping grab
as when I hear my leg break
before it does, as the newspeople keep

talking till something happens.

When things seem slower, not
when they are, we call it peace.

The simmer even so we

understand it. Never mind the wild boil.

A man across the street freezes
and turns and his companion stops a few steps

beyond. He kneels beyond the wind and catches

a cigarette between his lips,

cradles space with his hands, finds
calm there, then strikes the match

in the midst. The peace, the not enough.


Sarah McCann’s poetry has been published in such journals as The Bennington Review, The Matador Review, COG, The Spectacle, The South Dakota Review, and Hanging Loose.  A Fulbright Fellow, she has published translations from Modern Greek in such anthologies and journals as Austerity Measures, Tripwire, Words Without Borders, Poetry International, and World Literature Today.  She also edited a collection of poetry by Robert Lax, Tertium Quid, and a book of her translations of the Greek poet Maria Laina is available from World Poetry Books. Of “We Filling Station” McCann writes, “[The poem] arose as many of my poems do, from uniting seemingly distant concerns. There was the immediate and brutal cold outside my window, cold which had killed some without means for heat. And there was the news of possibility of peace in the midst of far war, and I wondered what that idea of peace might mean.”