07/09/2013 06:02 pm ET Updated Sep 08, 2013

At Stadium and Drake

Once in a while, we are stopped in our race through the days, like driftwood near the bank of a river, caught for a second in the mud before being swept along. In those moments, we get a rare view of the non-stop world we are a part of. This poem came from such a moment.

At Stadium and Drake

I was waiting to make a left, to get
out of traffic. She was across from me,
in a red hatchback, waiting to enter. The
cars whizzed by like hornets. Our eyes met
briefly and the whole journey was suddenly
evident: always going somewhere, always
unsure how to get there, waiting for the
chance to join, to lead, to follow, relieved
to make our way, till we miss our exit and
wonder, "Where to now?" The speed of the
traffic made our cars shimmy. We caught
each other's eye again, missing our chance.
She shrugged. I laughed. The moment of
pause had opened a different dimension
that made us impervious to the pull of the
hive, at least for a while. Then, in a flash,
she was sucked into the whir. Someone
behind me began honking. I couldn't
move. I wanted out. Once home, I had
a glass of water on the deck, where the
peony, weighed down with all its beauty,
was drinking from the birdbath. I thought,
"Oh, teach me how to be this still."

A Question to Walk With: Begin to tell the story of a recent struggle between keeping up with the race you find yourself in and your effort to widen an unexpected moment of stillness.

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For more by Mark Nepo, click here.