Sunday, September 22, 2013

22 September 2013

Self Portrait in Traffic

Perhaps this silver pickup before me
is parked, it’s so likely I’ve chosen the wrong lane,
no, we’re moving, no, alas, we’re stopped again
while from my left a Focus inveigles
between me & the Silverado, cranks for

the right lane, no, it stalls halfway, that way
everyone’s blocked, like a bathroom drain
from which we can be pleased no further filth
oozes — where can all these vehicles be going?

that is to say, not going, in pouring rain
while a homeless pair gains ground faster than
traffic can, the sidewalk clear, their filth,
some of it, washed away, wet hair dragging
like weeds from river stones, their brown & gray clothing
browner & grayer, where can they be heading?
Suddenly the right lane speeds forward
as if the earth’s cracked open ahead, a rift
to pour gridlock into — here a gap, after a Ranger
& before a pockmarked Camry, deftly
I swerve, better to be swallowed by a rift than
frittered away, light change by light change
tailgating an OnTrac van, now I signal for
the right turn at Laurel, at California right again,

left on Bay, finally, I’m parked at home, warm
engine ticking, pressed against the kitchen window

the cat, all anticipation inside.

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