Afternoon Traffic

By John Winkelman

Stuck in traffic, staring into a sky the color
of the amber which caught the ancestor
of the mosquito currently humming in my ear
as the crush creeps forward, a crustacean horde
taking its first steps on land after
a brief eternity buried in mud.

Straining against time we inch along,
twitching, unsteady, erratic,
unhinged segments dancing spastically to
the cacophony of our unhappy descendants,
announcing our presence to the world with
preverbal crying and postverbal honking.

And somewhere in the middle, me; my carapace
crawling along a highway the color
of the Burgess Shale which trapped my ancestors
when they paused in their wanderings
at exactly the wrong moment
to admire the sunset.

John Winkelman lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His writing has appeared in the 1999 issue of Voices, the anthology Jot That Down: Encouraging Essays for New Writers, and other venues. In the past he has served as a director for Caffeinated Press and as the managing editor of The 3288 Review literary journal.

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