This Light Never Turns Green
All around others have the car seat tipped back,
sun roof wide with clouds, the occasional bird,
a kite, early Van Morrison low on the stereo
that never needs batteries or gas, no engine
to make it go. Out there: reclined seats, flip-
flopped feet kicked out the side window or
on a dashboard where a hula dancer hangs,
A bumper-sticker – Namaste.
Red is Zen.
Someone has stretched a blanket in the bare
intersection; a man sprawls reading the Bhagavad Gita,
eating grapes from the silver bowl resting next
to a jug of sweet iced tea.
A little girl paints the center divider,
an oceanscape with a great white Beluga whale.
Her mother reads Vanity Fair on the hood of her VW,
rubbing perfume samples on her wrists.
in all that air, under that rainbow-tailed kite,
a sound begins.
Like song, it grows to a belly wail, something
from a dark place, a place of prayer, the place
between ribs and the plaster ceiling of the stomach.
The mother looks up from her magazine, an article
about a man marooned in the aftermath of a hurricane,
his yacht caught in miles of white sand.
She’s curious, this reader, at this sound
all around her. Not annoyed, she looks straight
at me, the red-faced woman in the green Subaru,
leaning on her horn.
Kim Culbertson March 2007