national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2014

Everyone I Love at a Gas Station in Utah

Paris Gravley  • 
Oberlin College

Two seats wide, Ham Hands

eats a foot-long at the corner

table. Cheetos stain blue

jeans a Nevada orange.


At pump four, Two-Thirty pulls

the nozzle from his metal truck

just as Legs gets out


on the other side. She’s yelling

about walking home, comes around the front

to push him. He slings gas near


her jean skirt, a couple drops hit,

sliding down towards her bare feet. oh,

fuck. She looks down, looks up.


They stand still, grinning at each other

like a couple of bank robbers at noon.


Three fat boys lick

ice cream cones the color of Pat

Nixon’s skirts, melting.


Their mustaches will come in early

and fragile, prized like the dog tags

their fathers gave them.


An arrow near the

exit points towards the highway.

Trucks wheeze by like

bitter great uncles.


The meridian shakes with

topless Oleander. The headlights

stare, shameless.


At the cash register, a trucker

winks while he puts a dollar bill

into my tip jar. The door rings


as he lets it fall behind him.

I watch, growing richer, gently.