On the 5 Freeway

From an overpass I look down
into an apartment complex,
a cluster of buildings
against one another
with a shared square
of yellow lawn, two toddlers
barefoot on big wheels
and a couple of older ones
throwing rocks.
Next to the dumpster,
a mattress covered with big pink flowers
and a range top propped on edge,
four holes like empty windows
where the flames once burned.
Everywhere the smell of rubber.

The cars coming toward me
have just emerged from a storm,
headlights blazing, raindrops
rolled back on the hoods,
wipers still slapping.
I clutch the steering wheel
and plunge in
hoping to reach the other side
cleansed and forgiven.

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Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash