Bill Garvey

The Night We Robbed the Esso

Richie watched my fingers turn the tumblers to the safe
I used to open when I managed the station for minimum wage—
28 cents for gasoline back then and we gave you
with every fill-up a set of drinking glasses, steak knives
or tiny box of laundry detergent as if you couldn’t wait to get home.

Richie huddled so close I couldn’t tell his heart from my own
pounding like the fists of cops we feared would catch our fingers
dipped in the oily cash of a day’s work in the shabby office
where that shit head George, my old boss, would swivel
like some oil tycoon and spit tobacco juice.

They must have changed the combination, I hissed to Richie,
as if pissed-off but never told him how relieved I was
crawling back through the window we’d crowbarred open,
then ran down Worthington Street, sneakers slapping
asphalt, both of us laughing, gulping the cool chemical air.


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