Furnace Gas Creek Station

Michael Jack O’Brien

I pump diesel into my


crew-cab Chevy

while the old boy on the other side of the island

pumps diesel into his


power-stroke Ford,

both of us bitching about the price

when he up and says he’s from


and this is his last trip anyhow.

He is dying, maybe.

Death Valley ignores us,

as its wildflowers-

desert gold, crimson cactus,

purple phacelia, desert five-spot

spill down

steep slopes

of the funeral mountains.


 Michael Jack O'BrienMichael Jack O’Brien has been placing poems for over fifty years, most recently in Blue Heron Review, Caesura, Colloquial, The Ravens Perch, and Gravel. Also, his poems have been included in a new anthology: Phoenix: Out of Silence and Then. When he isn’t hiking near Santa Rosa, California witnessing how forests have responded to fire, he babysits grandchildren, learning their language.