The wonder isn't that lightning
strikes where it does, but that it doesn't
strike everywhere. Specifically me.
It isn't the frequency of car crashes,
but their infrequency. Traffic flicks along
in its speed and perplexity, each move,
each surge a potential disaster.
The heart beats out its strange
litany of the enormously possible,
never excluding disease and stricture.
Why does my blood run so easy and warm?
This is the wonder: me approaching
the traffic light just turned yellow,
my foot pressing my trust down
into the brake, the car in agreement
coming steady steady to a stop.
* * * * * * * *
Paulann Petersen is Oregon's sixth and current Poet Laureate. She lives on Portland, Oregon, where she is “gratefully immersed” (as she puts it) in that city’s “splendid community of readers and writers.” Paulann is the author of four poetry collections, one of which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award and several other major awards. "Miracle" was published in A Bride of Narrow Escape (Cloudbank Books, 2005). Learn more about her at http://paulann.net.