Out of State Plates

The driver ahead of me hesitated
physically straddling the line between turning or not
as one does when a decision is uncertain.

It was a small car, road-dirty with out-of-state plates
and a single occupant, a man whose greying hair 
was visible in the early morning light.

As I would too, he pulled through the light in the turn lane
and it was curiosity, I confess, that soon had me alongside him 
for just a moment before pulling ahead.

Perhaps mid-60s, needing a shave but not a haircut.
A look of concentration with his left hand on the wheel
and his right clutching a sheet of paper.

A few moments later I looked for him in the mirror, but he was gone. 
Where was he going, this far from home?  
Where was I going, this close to home?

Shaking the thought, I slowed once more 
dutifully put on my signal 
and made a turn into the rising sun.

26 thoughts on “Out of State Plates”

  1. There is that wondering at times, and you’ve written the curiosity when we notice something that isn’t quite in place, like that out-of-state plate. One moment in time, one poem capture to cement the moment. Lovely, Tim!

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    1. Thanks, Kathryn! I don’t stare or anything (well, sometimes), but I do enjoy wondering about folks on the road. We’re all there for one reason or another.

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  2. I love the narrative feel of this poem, Tim: “Where was I going, this close to home?” And thank goodness the man was “clutching a sheet of paper” and not a cell phone – perhaps still distracted, but not in the same way as a screen.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Those moments of wondering are often with us, but this one you captured and shared. Beautiful poem and image today. for some reason, these lines speak to me today:
    Where was he going, this far from home?
    Where was I going, this close to home?
    Nice poem, Tim.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tim, You were on top of Poetry Friday this week! Wow! I, on the other hand wasn’t sure I was going to get around to posting today. But, I did! I read your out of state plates last night, shortly after you published it. My mind often wanders off when I see other driver’s with out of state plates. I tend to be more than understanding when I think someone does not know where they are headed. And, isn’t that all of us at some point or another (as you so aptly point out?!). Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carol, as chance would have it, I checked Irene’s post just after she published it — that probably won’t happen again! Out of state plates definitely get me thinking!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a metaphor for life, captured so vividly in this poem. We’re all on our own journey and when our paths meet briefly with someone else’s, we can continue traveling on our own path a bit more mindfully than we were before. Thank you for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elisabeth, thanks for your comments! The road is an interesting place, and definitely provides an opportunity for introspection. Everyone’s on a journey. 🙂

      Like

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