As It Happens

Paul Hostovsky's poems have won a Pushcart Prize, two Best of the Net Awards, the FutureCycle Poetry Book Prize, and have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer's Almanac. Before being published by Short Édition, "As It Happens" was accepted as part of Michigan State University Libraries call for submissions on The American Road, in coordination with the MSU Board of Art Museum's exhibit, Interstates of Mind.

When they told me I was dying, which I wasn't,
I began to miss the things in the world which I didn't
even like about the world—the hideous traffic
on 95, for instance, which I found myself sitting in,
going nowhere on my way home, in no hurry now
that I was dying. I will miss this traffic, I thought,
feeling surrounded—girded—by people and life and
desire in the lanes. And the truck, the 18-wheeler
shouldering in, trying to pass on the right (I always
hated trucks), struck me now as a vessel of human
kindness, people helping people they don't even know
by bringing them food from far away. I will miss
all the trucks, I thought, as I rolled down my window
and waved him in and gave him the I-Love-You sign.
I will miss the waiting, the fuming, the inching
along, the reductive bumper stickers and caviling
crazy drivers with their chutzpah and their daring.
And the road itself, which is every road, everywhere,
bending, unfolding, continuing on. Then I turned
the radio on and the talking heads were talking
about death—all of the deaths at home and abroad.
And I thought to myself, the living are talking about
dying but the dying are talking about living. I am talking
about all the living I missed already, all the living
I wanted to do—any kind of living at all—now that I was
dying, which I wasn't, as it happens, as it turned out.

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