by John Lander
Inside a car, dirty windows
rolled up, the world travels
subdued. Honks and roars
remove their shoes and seep
through sock-soft. Footsteps
are mute, as is the bicyclist’s
chain — I see their movements,
know their sounds; sometimes
I hear them as I do my name
in an empty living room
on a warm, windless day.
The relentless summer
battles a rattling A/C
and I’m in between, profiting
comfort, controlling discord
with the push of a button.
Black smoke from someone
else’s car fire is a small concern
tucked in my windshield’s corner.
The owner’s face is contorted
into a portrait of sweat
beads on a brow
on the verge
of cascading.
I accelerate;
his lips stir.
I exhale until my chest hurts
to avoid a scorched oil stench
and yet the scent bleeds in.

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