The Motor Oil (In Bloom)

A découpé poem after Sturgill Simpson’s A Sailor’s Guide to the Earth (2016)

The Motor Oil (In Bloom)
Photo by Kenny Eliason / Unsplash

by Daniel Rortvedt

Selected by Frances Klein

Son, I’m begging your fever will break.
Spring is here again and my life is no longer mine.

We are two lanterns in bloom. Always the baseball bat,
never the fresh paint on the mailbox post.

Connect Four.
is this love measured in miles?

The birds keep calling to the last lost fisherman:
Stay between the lines.
Turn off the TV.

Pollywog, now I know why
motor oil is motor oil.

There is no doubt.

This love’s grandfathered-in,
some kind of Nirvana.

Lyrics sourced from

Daniel Rortvedt is an occupational therapist, educator, writer, and editor. He completed degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Boston University. Previous work appears or is forthcoming in Houseguest, Lunch Ticket, word west revue, and elsewhere. He lives in the Midwestern United States with his wife and children.