The Next Car Over

Right there! You cut me off you piece of shit!

Did you not see me driving here, I shout

into the windshield, hand balled in a fist.

And then you flip off me? Give me the bird

 

when you were in the wrong, it’s clear to me,

from my position of authority.

Safely encased in metal and music

to drown the homeward drive I take at five.

 

But you, you fuck, you fuck it up for me

and everybody behind me you force

to stop, tires screech, nerves fray, hearts race,

eyes wide,

somewhere a child falls from the sky, and you

 

in front when you should be behind. This is

too much! I’ve had enough of driving ’round

a town with idiots who think they own

the road. Not me, who follows rules, obeys

 

the speeds except the one enraging me

right now inside my chest, ears burning, fight

or flight or freeze you could have killed me, fool,

(not really) or my bumper more than not.

 

My car’s worth more than you make in a year,

based on the looks of your decrepit Ford.

I hope your insurance is up to date.

By now my window’s down, I’m next to you,

 

we scream at each other as people watch,

recording us with their smart phones, our dumb

tyrannical stunt goes viral, this and more at ten.

I stop the car, open the door, and you

 

follow my lead and, much to your dismay,

my frame and wheels come out to make a chair,

a wheelchair, what? I lift into the seat.

Your anger, paralyzed, reflects my legs,

 

as slender as your arms, I see. You shake

your head and turn away. Will you not fight

with me? Before, you cut me off and scoffed,

and now you slice my manhood deep without

 

an offer of a dance? I may surprise

you, tougher than I look, or at least in

my head. I spit onto the car you get

inside. There’s not much I can do to you

 

outside of my arm’s reach. You challenge ‘gainst

my alpha male delusion of myself.

Displaced by normalcy, hypocrisy

of me, the me that is forever changed.

 

At six foot three, two twenty easily,

an IED explodes inside of me.

The tank begins to shake and split and fire

erupts around us all, the valley rocks

 

and shots ring out, an ambush overtakes

the squadron, Hajis all around us now.

You should have stayed inside your Ford,

doors locked,

Away from stranger danger and a vet

 

with post-traumatic stress disorder, blind

with wrath, the crippled freedom fighter who

gave up his youth, the better years of life,

when airlines slammed into the Towers.

 

Did you so soon forget? We are at war,

an endless war, a generation left

to fight for right when right ain’t right, or left

to bury bitter burdens and friends.

 

A man who tastes the peak of peril will spend

a lifetime of attempts to recreate

sensations, rousing tempts of fate too late

to gain re-entrance to the rush he felt

 

to touch the edge of death where nothing else

compares, except perhaps the rush hour drive

when dear old granny drops F bombs polite,

and quiet desperations line the streets.