Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Kareem Tayyar: Gas Station

The Indian woman behind the counter 

is reading The Upanishads when I enter.

The radio is playing a French chanson.

The photograph on the wall to my left 

features John F. Kennedy 

on the steps of the White House,

waving to reporters.

As I pay what I owe

the cashier’s husband emerges

from the back,

his blue dastar matching

the color of the sky beyond the windows.

If someone were to tell me 

that out of these fuel pumps

butterflies will emerge,

I would certainly believe them.


Kareem Tayyar is a poet and novelist whose books include Follow the Sun: Poems, Stories, and Reflections (Aortic Books), Postmark Atlantis (Level 4 Press), Scenes From a Good Life (Tebot Bach), and The Prince of Orange County (Pelekenesis). He lives in Southern California.

Copyright 2021 Kareem Tayyar

Photo: Los Angeles Times

4 comments on “Kareem Tayyar: Gas Station

  1. Rose Mary Boehm
    May 6, 2021

    Just delightful! Thank you for lifting my spirit!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Barbara Huntington
    May 6, 2021

    I love the butterflies from gas pumps. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. kim4true
    May 6, 2021

    Rich sensory detail. I want to place these gas station owners in a story, but, of course, that is not my story to tell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      May 6, 2021

      Yes, there’s just a hint of narrative here, but the real story is the way the experience changes the speaker.

      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on May 6, 2021 by in Poetry, Social Justice, spirituality and tagged , , , .

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