Sideview

He’s in front of me at the red light

in a not-new black Korean sports car,

with the driver’s window open, and I

can clearly see his face in the sideview

mirror, early 20s, his light skin

still unlined, good-looking, with hair

and beard both cut short and neatly

edged.

 

From the flexing of his jaw he must

be eating something, his breakfast,

while he waits for the green. I can’t

see what, but from the motion of his

arm, I’m thinking he’s tearing off bits

of a pastry that’s wrapped in crinkly

paper.

 

I don’t know him, probably won’t see

him again; since he’s headed off to

the side of campus opposite mine, we

probably move in different circles,

and anyway, it’s all nothing, this morning

encounter.

 

And yet there’s something extraordinary

about the brief reflection, this unplanned

observation of an ordinary private moment

in a stranger’s life, one of so many

miraculous moments that rise up daily, only

to fall like trees in the forest, unseen, unheard,

and unremarked if no one happens

to pass.

 

Copyright 2014

T. Allen Culpepper

 

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