The Social Life of Traffic
Brian Leary

All day the road pimpled in the sun.
Matthew said

All the important moments of my life
could happen in a car.

Night fell on us, surprising
in its weightlessness, hoodwinking

the sun. I tapped
the radio louder & we all sung along

deep at the engine space,
where a car-gear clicked its gear-tongue three times

& began to spin. I'm worse
at what I do best, & for this gift

I feel blessed.

Headlights blinked open in the distance,

whirred past us in pairs. Cindy flashed
a thumbtack bulb again & again,

glued our miniature Polaroid faces to the ceiling.
Vapor like smoke

gasped from a tailpipe & fouled the air.
On the long & straight stretches,

we snuck up on ourselves, careful
to stay the buoy line of our blind spots.

Kelly said
If my car wore a t-shirt, it'd be logoed

Every night lying came easier &

easier, until
dawn broke pale over us,

leaving pockmarks in the road.
We were always trying to save ourselves for something,

said we can even take the road in reverse,
said we can race the sun out of its bag.


Brian Leary lives and writes in Phoenix, Arizona. He has won numerous awards for his writing, including a waiter-scholarship from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. This is his second published poem.


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