Rush Hour

A girl panhandling on a traffic island
standing behind a cardboard sign.

My motorcycle slivers the world beside her–
seconds, days, who knows.

Her odd orange horizontal striped dress.

An old green van in front of me
heading under the bridge.

Behind the cardboard sign,
standing in the dress
is a veteran,
a double amputee,
remounted now
on aluminum and rubber.

The green van steps
backwards in time
to avoid something undesired.

Metal on pavement
like a trash can full of gravel
thrown from a truck.

The road stands up and skids sideways
against my helmet.

A blond woman from the UK
behind white glasses,
mouth moving kindly.

The rubble arched concrete railing
leading down to the bridge
and the men who built it.

Tree leaves stippling the sky overhead

The close kindness of strangers.

The afternoon sun waiting
in the perfumed Ponderosa pines
behind the mountains.

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