i would protest gasoline if i wasn’t always driving away. i’d protest oil pumps plunging in and out of the earth—their sledgehammer shadows dipping into night. but i drive my car anyway—i burn fuel. my tires groan against pavement. away from texas, into new mexico, oklahoma, across every thirsty desert and endless plateau. the first photo on the wikipedia page for “petroleum” is a “pumpjack pumping an oil well near lubbock, texas.” petroleum is both yellow and black. hot sun and darkness. fire and ashy exhaust. it is a fossil fuel: the ancient energy of long-dead things. like bone imbedded in strata, i arrive and leave behind. i disappear into petrified dust.
Sara Ryan is the author of the chapbook Never Leave the Foot of an Animal Unskinned (Porkbelly Press). Her second chapbook, Excellent Evidence of Human Activity, is forthcoming from The Cupboard Pamphlet. Her work has been published in or is forthcoming from Pleiades, DIAGRAM, Booth, Prairie Schooner, and others. She is currently pursuing her PhD at Texas Tech University.
Artwork by: Makunin