Sunday, September 24, 2023


 Morning Commute

Driving in to work on the highway

A split-second vision of a flat stone

Frisbeeing from the rear tire

Of the oblivious car in front of me,

Its surface a shiny mosaic

Of onyx black and reptilian green

Like the scutes of a turtle shell

Whacking against my chassis 

And then the sparrow scuttering

Out of the way just in time

As I veered down the off ramp

To a brief stop at a red light 

Where bees were swarming in the swale 

Around lilacs lazing in the late summer breeze

Dizzy in the drunkenness of third bloom

And then, just ahead, passing

Penitential geraniums slowly browning

In stone-cosseted flower beds

Embellishing ugly corporate signs

Before finally pulling into an empty space 

As the engine clicked and wound down 

While watching in the rearview mirror 

A couple leaning into one another 

Outside their car in the parking lot

Of the suburban hospital where I work 

Blanched faces, bodies soft-slumped

Against each other in awkward collision 

Processing some shared affliction

Like two mortally wounded trees

Propping one another up

After a summer cyclone 

Has otherwise decimated the land.

Such tragedies in overlooked places

Unbeknownst to anyone else

Without anyone ever noticing.

The tiniest slivers of love clinging together

When faced with the alternative

Of having to go it alone.

Well, that’s it

I can only hold on so long

That’s all I remember

The rest of the day a routinized blur 

Of charts and numbers and familiar faces

But as I turned and walked for the door:

The wind begins to gust

The grass bends

The hospital stands still.


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