Traffic Watch

As always it is late, the freeways

trickling with late drivers

kept in town by the impossible

debt, the mortgage that falls due

every second, kept late by fears

of home—house and family

ready to swallow them one button

at a time, paycheck by

paycheck.  Looking down I follow

their quiet lights nosing along

like insects as they look for

the one driveway that will take

them in.  I see them pull into

garages with great stealth

in order to keep the tools asleep—

mowers slumped in winter hibernation,

ladders in attitudes of prayer.

There is the click of the door

and the aching pause as the road

plucks at their sleeves

to call them back–one more drink,

that smile across the room, the safe

limbo of the dark bar.

But it is too late and they re-enter

the dreaded door, trying to remember

the story they should tell of lateness

and despair, the one they never tell

and never will, of how the worm

of hopelessness lies coiled in

the very heart of hope.

–Vern Rutsala

Published in: on December 13, 2009 at 11:08 AM  Leave a Comment  

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