the lucky ones

stuck in the rain on the freeway, 6:15 p.m.,
these are the lucky ones, these are the
dutifully employed, most with their radios on as loud
as possible as they try not to think or remember.
this is our new civilization: as men
once lived in trees and caves now they live
in their automobiles and on freeways as
the local news is heard again and again while
we shift from first gear to second and back to first.
there’s a poor fellow stalled in the fast lane ahead, hood
up, he’s standing against the freeway fence
a newspaper over his head in the rain.
the other cars force their way around his car, pull out into
the next lane in front of cars determined to shut them off.
in the lane to my right a driver is being followed by a
police car with blinking red and blue lights —he surely
can’t be speeding as
suddenly the rain comes down in a giant wash and all the
cars stop and
even with the windows up I can smell somebody’s clutch
I just hope it’s not mine as
the wall of water diminishes and we go back into first
gear; we are all still
a long way from home as I memorize
the silhouette of the car in front of me and the shape of the
driver’s head or
I can see of it above the headrest while
his bumper sticker asks me
suddenly I have an urge to scream
as another wall of water comes down and the
man on the radio announces that there will be a 70 percent
chance of showers tomorrow night
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