From Unpredictable Hue, 2019.


Exactly on schedule four cars emerge into view
speed up the on-ramp. I parallel them
here on the highway all of us racing toward
the point of the V that is the merge.
According to highway etiquette
I should get over into the left lane
but there is a solid line of traffic already occupying it
so let’s see who blinks first
in this very ordinary fight to the death
I speak in metaphor but certainly it could happen.
I decide. Magnanimity will be my word for today
a term more noble than self-preservation
but the latter is truly the more appropriate.
I fall back. I let the first car the leader of my rivals
merge in but I tailgate close and hard to show
I made the choice. I decide what I will permit.
It is enough and all that the situation requires by custom.
Traffic speeds on and others behind me
will decide the merge fates of the newcomers
and if it happens in my rearview mirror, well,
it’s not happening to me.
The maneuvers are over almost before they begin.
Joined in one flow we move
the next highway on-ramp entrance
two miles down the road
where we will test ourselves again.
I change the radio station and think of lunch.


5 thoughts on “Skirmish

  1. Which is and always has been an awful lot of them! I was taught to drive not only my car but (figuratively) the other cars on the road, too, in the sense of anticipating their moves.

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