Two Poems

by E. Martin Pedersen

Gran Torino

Gran Torino in the carport
Took Dad seven years to save up
He doesn’t believe in buying on credit
He only buys American

Drove us to Yellowstone in that car
We camped beside the Utah road
I helped Dad set up the big tent
And cots for all us kids

Mom made mayonnaise and bologna sandwiches
With tomato slices, I wish I had one right now
On white bread with the crusts removed
With Tang, the astronaut’s drink

We had it made back then, car games, singing
We were all still alive
Driving around Wyoming in the Gran Torino
Up ahead a great life.

Gerrymandering the Great Unknown

You need an edge, a profit margin
that one good idea, a winner
say “I don’t want to die”
when all the packaging, the styrofoam peanuts
gone, all the peanuts gone
you stand at the edge of the black hole of gravity
feet first or head first?
cry “I don’t want to go”
then go.

You can’t touch this imaginary boundary
but you can see it from here
all the tricks you ever knew are worthless
the mystery chord, the ‘love yous’
empty echo of the quantum self
ratcheting up
to the great unknown.


E. Martin Pedersen, a San Franciscan, has lived in eastern Sicily for over 35 years. He teaches English at the local university. His poetry has appeared in Alexandria Quarterly, Scarlet Leaf Review, Muddy River Review, Ink Sweat & Tears, and others. Martin is a 2011 alum of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.

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