Monday, July 21, 2008


from my drive home from work....

I didn’t see it when I put the car in reverse,
backed carefully as always out of the parking lot,
didn’t see it when I shifted to drive and accelerated
gradually down the street. It appeared
from nowhere – a blank windshield one moment
and the next a brazen summer grasshopper.

It walked unsteadily up the glass slope
until it was just above eye level, then turned
like a dog circling before lying down and faced into the wind
long antennas blowing backward, like it enjoyed
the breeze. I wondered what 30 miles per hour
must feel like to a creature only an inch long.

Like a hurricane, I guessed, all but overwhelming,
but it hung on, antennas flying, body buffeted,
six tiny feet gripping the smooth surface
until I stopped at a traffic light. I thought about reaching out
my hand, trying to scoop it off the glass and into the grass
beside the road, but it turned and walked sideways
further up the windshield.

Green like the light, not one of the brown grasshoppers of fall,
the kind that sting against your legs when you run,
dry and hard and eating holes in the crops, it was pale
and the color of new leaves. It sidled up the glass
and then hopped out of sight onto the roof of the car.
I missed it immediately, wished it luck, that strange passenger
on my short urban commute. May you find the green grass
by the river, the tall weeds, disturbed only by bicycles and runners,
not the dirty exhaust-dried borders of this road.

Minutes later I parked the car at home, got out and slammed the door
without thinking, making it jump, that spindly-legged miracle
that had survived my driving. I tried to apologize
for the bumpy ride, but it skittered away from my voice.
I’d been used by the little green insect. It got what it wanted
and didn’t want to talk afterward. It’s been fun, it might have said,
but let’s not make this more than what it is.

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