My Commute

The SUV in front of me stopped
to let the SUV from a side street in line
which made the SUV behind me crowd close
enough to spot the stain on his tie in my rearview.

O woman of the frontal SUV, why do you
shower kindness on a selfish stranger trying
to wedge his way in so that he may get there first,
while I and the long line of SUVs behind suffer
the indignity, especially stained-tie man, who is
screaming into his cellphone, no doubt desperate,
knowing he will now be arriving 4.5 seconds later
than he would have if the woman in the SUV in front
had not paused for an instant in her daily visionquest,
her mission to accomplish before becoming horizontal
for eternity, had not paused to recognize our common
humanity, our capacity for empathy and patience,
our universal need to connect, had not paused her life,
stepped back from it for exactly 4.5 seconds, graphically
demonstrating to a stranger the overwhelming power
we hold to care about each other.

The hell with this shit, I thought, worried I too would get there
later than I would have, while stained-tie man flicked a lit cigarette
out the window, chirped his tires, swung around us all
and flashed away into the future, as if the present wouldn’t
always be the past long before he could touch it.