So Very Alive

He began to conceive of the end.
Death didn’t seem imminent
but at last he could get his arms around the idea,
that it was up ahead there somewhere.
He could conceive of it.
He began to have a Thornton Wilder
sense of all that he’d be leaving.
All that ‘Our Town’ gratitude
for the ordinary,
which becomes extraordinary
and then some
when you must go away for all
Eternity.
So he began to drive his car
with the driver side window open.
The other drivers may keep
their windows up,
the better to avoid being bitch-slapped
by the slipstream as you do 80
on the freeway.
But he wanted the full sensation,
the blast on his temporary little nerve
endings. He wanted his temporal,
if corporeally overweight,
body to interface more often
with the surrounding environment.
Every tickling breeze could be his last,
or was in any case a sensation he
would soon enough kiss goodbye.
So he drove everywhere
With his driver side window down.
And in a lashing rain,
one of a finite number of lashing rains
he would ever know again,
he would drive
with his driver side
window down,
the other drivers staring at this
wanton jackass on the freeway.
Their thin judgement didn’t matter.
He was so very alive with the rain
pelting his forearm and shirtsleeve
and the people roaming the earth
like vaguely informed phantoms
and those goggle-eyed fellow phantoms
on the freeway,
they mattered not.
When he got to his place of work,
his lavishly soaked left side,
the inside of his car a shower stall,
these totems alerted the gods,
whose approval was only piqued
by those mortals who knew them to be
hovering like brass-knuckled dockworkers
in the ether.
And though the other temporal phantoms
glared from their work stations
with unconcealed amusement
he went about his business,
a lone self-loving phantom,
a sprig of the Eternal,
eventually breaking the spell by changing
in the men’s room, donning
the dry shirt he’d long since rolled up
and stuffed into his attaché.

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