Stuck in traffic
behind the firebreathing cars
of basically good people,
and vice versa,
I am cut off,
unsignaled, bad fingered,
Out my window is a clutter of uneasy pairings –
an empty whiskey bottle
alongside a prayer book in Arabic,
pieces of a tail light
scattered across a little pink blanket,
the remains of a mourning dove draped in a plastic bag
with something unnaturally purple in it.
So it is, how life and death
have it out on the side of the road,
the mr. and mrs. of meaning
squabbling about progress,
about destinations lost
in the great chain
of being and unbeing.
Instead of dying I’d like to be
granted a wish to live on,
killing nothing therefore eating nothing,
therefore throwing nothing out of windows,
a life of good works only –
Jimmy Carter forever young,
Mahatma Gandhi, only better looking.
Here’s what I’d do every day:
I’d get up and drink water.
No harm done there.
I’d go out and tend my weed-filled garden
for the poor and the hungry.
And I’d draw little pictures in the air,
letting the wind find a place for me in the sky.