I sit inside the car and look out the window—
so much of life spent looking out
car windows—and you have gone inside
the pharmacy/convenience store to pick up
whatever it was you were at that moment
needing. We are always needing so much.
And little, relatively, and each other, mostly,
and across the street at the tire shop
a man dressed from head-to-toe in NASCAR
apparel opens the door of his tall truck
for his woman, where they go inside
to a world of bad coffee and sports broadcasting.
It was another time and another place
and I was talking with one of your relatives then
about racing, knowing little about racing,
wanting to pretend I knew enough
because sometimes pretending is the only thing
that tethers two people together. On the television
the cars go around the track, taking turns
as the lead changes. And outside the car the cars
go down the road, they bristle and purr
at the stop light, they beckon
for a little bit of go with the next car over,
for a small test of acceleration between two points,
two motors, two people each with different ideas
about what speed they’re willing to chance
before backing down to the wall of who they believe
themselves to be underneath. On the radio
the music gives way to commercials, it is concert
season, and the bands are coming through
to spread their music like the good word of god.
A furniture store has marked everything down
forty-percent, and in this moment I am forty-
percent with you and what you might be
doing, fifty-percent outside the windows,
ten-percent lost somewhere in the stranger places
of memory, future, fun facts about a thousand things
I thought I’d forgotten. A man rides by
on a bicycle and hits a curb, flipping end-over-end.
We all act like we don’t notice, noticing.
Laughing because here is a moment meant for laughter.
If it were a bone broken, if it were a heart broken,
if it were the morning broken, who’s to say
what the tragic skin of that man holds underneath.
A parking lot. A stop light. An entire universe
gone on and out and up and over the hill.
Straight-aways and long, slow turns over the burms
of life. You walk out of the glass doors
carrying a plastic bag full of the unknown.
There could be magic in there. A small box full
of hope, candy, the five toys I loved most as a child.
I read in the newspaper today that NASCAR
is our fastest growing sport. We have come to embrace
the race. Speed and expansion. Night and day.
Your footsteps picking up as they get closer,
my heart, still beating at a strong and inconsistent pace.