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Monday Commute

Charles K. Carter

Patti Smith’s “Redondo Beach”

is playing on the car radio.

My window is rolled half-way down.

It’s a warm fifty degree west coast winter day

but then it starts to sprinkle.

The water spatters inside

as I notice an empty Culligan water-cooler jug

on the sidewalk

and then there is a black cowboy hat

on the road.


And some dude in a car with dealer plates

veers in front of me without even looking.

I check for my face in the rearview mirror.

Does anyone see me anymore?


I laugh at a handmade poster

on a telephone pole.

I laugh because the poster says MISSING BIRD

and I wonder,

how can you ever expect to find something

that can fly away from your cages?


I look closely at houses

that have recently sprouted shiny FOR SALE signs,

houses that are now listed at twice the price

they would have sold for three years ago.


And I am on my way to work,

looking for a new path to take,

keeping an eye out for a nun, a teacher, a shaman,

someone, anyone who can lead me to my own shine.



Charles K. Carter (he/him) is a queer poet who currently lives in Oregon. He is the author of several books, including Read My Lips (David Robert Books) and Artificial Sweetness (Finishing Line Press). He is also the creator and host of the video podcast series #SundaySweetChats. He can be found on Instagram and Twitter @CKCpoetry.

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