In a Perfect World

By Michael Todd Steffen

In a Perfect World

She could have said,
You’re in that truck, I’m on this bike!
She could have claimed her right of way—

the traffic jammed, a short space opening
with him in the left-turn lane lurching into an arc,
her in that same gap pedaling out

and him pounding on his horn, God lady! You—
But instead, the handlebars wobbling,
her front tire nosing left and right,

she said,
Okay, okay! I’m sorry! I am human.
Gee. People make mistakes, you know…

And the man’s voice modulated
from centaur back into a man’s voice,
I just want you to be safe

as he waved her over onto the island
in the middle of the street,
his elbow relaxed in the open truck-door window

and another thing came across
truer than my patience tensing for them both
as I stood there waiting for the crosswalk signal.

photo by Nikolay Vorobyev