If at times your world seems flat and uninteresting, I recommend making a cardboard viewfinder with a postage-stamp sized window. Then look at what's around you through that. I think you'll be pleased and surprised by how much you can see when the rest is pushed outside of the frame. This poem is from my book Kindest Regards, published by Copper Canyon Press.

Passing Through

I had driven into one side of a city,

and through it, and was on the way out

on a four-lane, caught up in the traffic,

when I happened to glance to my right

where a man stood alone smoking,

fixed in the shade of a windowless

warehouse, leaning back into a wall

with one shoe cocked against it,

the other one flat on the pavement.

He was beside me for only an instant,

wearing a short-sleeved yellow shirt

and gray work pants, as the hand

that held the cigarette swept out

and away, and he turned to watch it

as with the tip of a finger he tapped

once at the ash, which began to drift

into that moment already behind us,

as I, with the others, sped on.

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Poem reprinted by permission. Weekly column made possible by The Poetry Foundation, Library of Congress and Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Unsolicited manuscripts not accepted.


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