thumbing it

a roller-coaster day
from the beginning
with as many climbs and
falls as sunday service
or a world trade elevator
woke up high and good
sober the night before
first time in a long time
driving to work beaming
belting out verses of dylan
when pulling off the parkway
saw a tired middle aged man
on a bench at the roadside
with his thumb out
in a ritual fashion
swerved right to the side
to give him a ride
if it wasn’t too far
out of my way but probably
taking him anyway
overflowing with gratitude
i could empathize
having hitched myself
knowing that blithe feeling
when the car pulls to the side
and the brake lights ignite
driver leaning to unlock
the door or roll down window
to inquire of destinations
in this wide world
that’s really pretty small
knowing that if you hold out
long enough and ask just right
you’ll get a ride the whole way
or at least a great chunk
when destinies spur
the hitcher name might
have been mike –
might just because smelling
with cologne-cigarette combination
mixed sweet together
like father’s cousin of same name –
coming from hospital
where he walks everyday
but today was just to damn hot
so he sits and hopes for luck
and before no time here i am
swerving to the side
manages an apartment building
where the previous winter
somebody adjusted the snowblower
and nobody told him
and he lost half his hand
to the blade
turns out the thumb he held
to the road was the best finger
on his hand the other four
cut off to the knuckles

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