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As My Life Falls Apart, I See a Sign

Driving through Los Banos on the busy highway,

I see a man in sunglasses smoking calmly

in the middle of the road waiting for a gap in traffic

so he can finish crossing. His face is stubbled,

sleeves rolled high on his biceps against the heat.

He is in no hurry, taking one drag then another

from his cigarette, letting the smoke drift

haloed about his head—a rogue angel,

the entire scene swirling round the fulcrum

of his implacable patience:


the exhaust fumes, road rage, the endless

phalanx of cars and big rigs going nowhere.


No less expected, no more. My blue-collar

Buddha, my dollar-store guru, a man

dead center in the middle of it all—

unflinching, ash falling on each

pointed-toe boot.

Dane Cervine is the author of The Jeweled Net of Indra from Plain View Press, as well as numerous chapbooks and other publications. His poetry has won a National Writers Union award from Adrienne Rich, and been a finalist for the Wabash Poetry Prize from Tony Hoagland, the Atlanta Review International Poetry Prize, and the Caesura Prize. You can peruse his work more at

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