The 2River View 23.4 (Summer 2019)

Travis Stephens

Traffic Report

today on the highway
a shattered pile of
wood pieces, jagged sharps
amid a tangle of
fabric and batting.
I believe it was a couch.
A sofa.
Splattered, shattered and tossed.
Stuffing had become cover
& cover had become threads.

on the freeway
between exits
traffic slowed but didn’t stop
even as a white van
nosed into the guardrail
facing traffic, poor thing,
billowed smoky flame.
Rain fell as the firemen
lit off the hydrant.

Morning traffic abandons
dogma & prayer for
the solid laws of physics.
The favorite: a body in motion,
second best, equal reactions.
Each day a reaffirmation,
and too often a lament.
Why oh why me?
Why today?

From the right
a flatbed truck merges
bearing a tarp covered load.
I slow to follow.
The tarp is loose
in one corner, a black
shroud of secrecy.
What could it be?
It could be anything:
an articulated clamshell bucket,
emergency generator,
for the civic center,
a wrecked Bugatti.
Swaying, rocking.
Ohio plates, is that a clue?
Maybe Lebron’s trophy collection
or the relocated mausoleum
of the Bessemer family.
Brake lights.
I go left and let it go,
in my rear view mirror an
ill-shaped lump of commerce.
Maybe headed your way.
My exit seven minutes away.

Travis Stephens is a sea captain who resides in California. Recent credits include Apeiron Review,  Cirque, Crosswinds Poetry Journal, Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Gravitas, Southword, Stoneboat Review, and Tiny Seed Literary Journal.

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