This "Filling Station" ain't pretty. We find out right away how dirty it is, and Bishop doesn't ever let it go. Of course some amount of grease should be expected in a filling station, whose main service is oil changes. But Bishop seems to think it's worth explaining that this place is the greasiest of the greasy; the oil has permeated every object and every person (and pet) in the joint. Though the place is pretty gross looking, that doesn't necessarily make it altogether awful, though. While the opening judgment never really fades, Bishop makes room for a more complicated verdict on the station.
Bishop makes such a big deal about how dirty the filling station is, in order to make a proper contrast with the home element. She intentionally trashes the place in order to make the small, sweet spots really shine.
The speaker never changes her opinion about the place. From beginning to end she thinks it's a nasty hole, not habitable for human beings.
Lo and behold, a family lives under that layer of grease. And things only get greasier with each passing day, as these folks continue to pour it into ailing automobiles on a daily basis. The "Filling Station," we find out pretty early on, is family-run, by the father and his sons. The women in the family (if there are any) seem to be steering clear of the grease trap. Signs of family and home trickle their way down the poem: there's a porch, some furniture, a plant, and even a pet dog. If this place didn't look like the site of a huge oil spill, it might look like a normal house and home. Almost.
The speaker is romanticizing the relationship with the young men and the owner of the station; they're actually not related at all. It was the speaker's assumption that the filling station was family run, just so she can make it seem nicer than it is.
The whole point of this poem is to show that even though this place is run down, a family lives there, so there's actually a lot of love and happiness.
On first read, the last line of "Filling Station"—"Somebody loves us all"—seems to come out of nowhere. The majority of the poem's energy is spent on depicting the overall trashiness of the place. But after a closer look, you'll see the foundation for this last line had been building very quietly from early on in the poem. It begins when we find out it's a family-run station. And when the close of the poem starts up with the "Somebody" repetition, we see the care taken to make this nasty old place a home. What keeps it together (even if in a filthy state), it seems, is the love and care of the people living there.
The last line comes out of nowhere. It's the speaker's unrealistic fantasy that there's any love in this place. She should have stuck to the grease and grime rant that she was on in the first place.
The love (last) line has been built not explicitly upon showings of love in the poem, but small showings of care—watering the plant, decorating the doily—and it's a perfect last statement to end the poem on.
The speaker of "Filling Station," believe it or not, admires this place. The admiration unfolds slowly, and even secretly, as if the speaker doesn't really want to own up to it. Bishop doesn't pull any punches in highlighting what is wrong with the place, and though it doesn't seem the speaker could love a place like this, it seems she clearly admires the family for making a home from it, for caring for the plant and the lazy dog. She might not love this joint, but she thinks it's pretty cool that they do.
The speaker admires the people in the filling station because they are capable of caring for a place that she could never appreciate (because it's too dirty and run-down).
The speaker doesn't admire the family at all; in fact, she thinks she's superior to them.