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Citizen's arrest.

   Citizen's Arrest

   One of those commutes when nothing moves.
   I was coming back from Oakland, another day
   trying to coax thought from my students.
   Already dark, taillights surged and flickered,
   a fireplace with no warmth.
   I was getting impatient, but then so was
   everyone else, including the van behind me,
   which came rushing up, lights on bright,
   only to stop inches from my bumper.
   Every time I eased forward, a few feet, a few yards,
   the van would wait, and then when I'd stopped,
   hurtle forward like a sprinter from the blocks,
   braking only just in time. This went on all the way
   from Treasure Island to the middle of the highest span.
   I could see the girl driving, no older than my students,
   and the kids riding with her, her riotous friends.
   I figured they were egging her on, and indeed
   each time she started quicker, stopped closer,
   until finally, amid the squeal of burning tires,
   she slid, kept sliding, struck my bumper.
   My head jerked back, jolted the headrest.
   That was too much. I put the car in park,
   opened the door, and stepped onto the bridge.
   Other drivers gawked as if frightened for me.
   But nobody was going anywhere. Besides, I didn't care.
   The girl looked terrified, her friends stupefied.
   What had they been drinking, or smoking?
   I knocked on her window, and when she rolled
   it down, slowly, timidly, I demanded, "Where's
   your license?" I could've been Highway Patrol--I
   was making my first citizen's arrest. She fumbled
   in her backpack, offered me the card between thumb
   and forefinger. I took it, read it--she was from
   down the Peninsula, some hive of expensive bedrooms--then
   walked to the rail and flipped it
   into the Bay. I got back into my car then,
   and she switched lanes, slowly disappearing
   behind me as I eased into the City.

Lee Rossi's latest poetry collection is Wheelchair Samurai. His poems have appeared in The Atlanta Review, Poetry Northwest, and The North American Review, as well as on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. His interviews and reviews can be found on and Poetry Flash. He lives in northern California.

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Author:Rossi, Lee
Publication:River Styx
Article Type:Poem
Date:Jul 1, 2015
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