Four-Way Stop

This entry is part 26 of 47 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2012


Pulling away from the parking lot and crossing
the boulevard into 45th, I’m not necessarily
thinking of this morning’s early rain, nor of how
the sidewalks are stained with clumps of fallen
crepe myrtle blossoms. And while I have some vague
awareness of how, despite the way they stipple
the pavement like dots in an impressionist painting,
there are still such generous mounds of them massed
on the trees— I’m not necessarily preoccupied with
the idea that this might almost (if I forced it) work
as some kind of metaphor for the way there never
seems to be any permanent fix for our problems: two
solved, and five more pop out of nowhere like some
many-headed monster resolved to take the prize
for tenacity away from you… For instance,
having just recently figured out how to pay for
a used car, insurance, and sundry other items for
a daughter who wants to move out of state to go
to school, I feel sideswiped by the four hundred
dollar bill that comes in the mail for the stress
test the doctor ordered at my last physical. Out
of the corner of my eye I see the owner
of the corner coffee shop come out with a hand-
lettered sign listing the day’s specials; he ducks
as the boughs overhead spatter his head with leftover
rain, and just as I’m wondering When does it stop?
a cop comes up behind me and is signaling for me
to pull up on the side. Oh crap, I think,
as I roll down my window, and he tells me
I’ve failed to notice the four-way stop.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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