There Are Days That Dawn All at Once, a Spilled Brilliance
by Roy Bentley Feature Poet
Pudding Magazine #57
as if morning were umpteen trillion uncartoned eggs cracked and
emptied onto the surfaces of things. The sudden sky's
a Superman blue, and the roofs of houses win out over clouds and
horizonline church spires and the pictographs of billboards. The
slant black of rooftops and a true and beautiful sky
forged from out of the ordinary plum color of night work
to recontrive Dayton, Ohio as a place to shine in
and crowd out what about a day is drowsy with sameness.
Lucky for me, I was born the son of a businessman
whose work ethic won't let him sleep in on such a day,
a decent man who dresses me for the ride in to Kettering.
We've come to open up and pump gas on the Sabbath
because his God's commandments all prohibit idleness.
I try his patience, it's clear, asking questions
about octane ratings and wanting an explanation
while he's wiping down a pyramid of cans on display
on the islands. And he's ticked at my jumping onto the hose of the
pump bell in order to make 6 a.m. ring and ring,
the noise making him think someone's pulled in before he's
unlocked the pristine restrooms, counted the cash drawer and
deposit, checked the register tape; before he's even made
coffee for his mechanic (who's late again). Maybe my notion
of making hay while the sun shines isn't as strict as my father's;
it's just that the little delay between landing
ninety-eight pounds of self onto the hose of the pump bell and
the bell's treble sounding inside the station is cause for joy
or amazement. But I stop when he says to. He
hollers, "Quit, boy!" and I quit because he's scary (can be) first
thing in the morning, before coffee, and I'm grateful he's
decided not to wallop me for not stopping sooner.
The light promises a bright day, which his face says
should begin in just this way, and with me as witness.