I once thought I’d die in traffic amidst shattered spines
of cars, or by infarction—one hand white-
knuckled on the wheel, the other raising a fist
to no one close enough to smell the sweat of my anger.
Not today as five minutes turns into an hour.
I sit calmly, blowing smoke, counting cones
lined up like convicts in their orange jumpers,
or staring into the empty squad car on the shoulder
blazing its sulfurous candles, a scarecrow in a concrete field.
I watch the crew taking a break for sandwiches & coffee
while I crawl here on my belly. I wonder why
I ever felt the need to rush (the movie restarts later &
the grocer’s doors stay unlocked forever).
In those days I made a sundial of the gearshift
as though I could measure my remaining breaths
in the space between Drive One & Three.

Ace Boggess is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire, 2003). His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, Rattle, River Styx, and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

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