Asphalt Chronicles: Adventures in Traffic

Upon hitting the city at 5:00
on Friday night –
smack into a
slow rush hour,
on the roads of a
Southern city with
no public transit to
speak of.

We descend the twisting ramp to an
8-lane parking lot
going north,
radio announcing where we’ll find
brake lights.
No worries there –
we’re drowning in them.
Red washing over fragile metal,
progress measured in feet, in
single speedometer digits.

What we find before we know we’re seeking:

One – a landmark midtown tavern I’d always meant to visit.
I tell the kid to look old.
She drinks a coke and reads her book.
I sip a draft – only 1 – and write a friend.

Two – Ethiopian drive-thru.
Spongy bread,
spiced cabbage,
red lentils,
potato stew
to go.
The kid passes me neatly
scooped handfuls at
stop lights.

Three – a vast outdoor store with
stuff on sale.
Tons of tempting items
promising adventure.
We mark items off her camp list
before returning to the road,
dark now with
headlights and
street lights and