Plain China

Everyone I Love at a Gas Station in Utah

by Paris Gravley · Oberlin College
Kairos, Julia Bennett · Seattle Pacific University

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.

About the Author

Paris Gravley · Oberlin College

Paris Gravley is a fourth-year studying political theory and creative writing. Her poem first appeared in Oberlin’s literary journal, Plum Creek Review.

About the Artist

Julia Bennett · Seattle Pacific University

As an artist, Julia Bennett strives to reveal her own perspective of current issues and ideas through abstract visuals. Raised in Southern California, she began studying studio art in Seattle and now studies photography/new media at the University of the Arts in London. Kairos was first published in SPU’s Lingua journal. See more of her work here.