Man Sleeping In The Interstate

The headlights caught a glimpse of him and in
that instant he was something other than a man
lying on his side with his knees and arms bent

to shield himself. Because his shirt was either red
or bloody, he was a rusted muffler come to a stop
after breaking off and blazing the road like a meteor;

he was every couch or mattress in the middle
of a lane surprising drivers into swerves and curses
and shutting down highways in places like Tulsa,

Oklahoma; he was the unexpected happening
which happened just the same; and when
I hit him, my stomach sank, and when the tires

rolled over he was only and always just a man,
already dead though, struck first by a taxi now parked
on the shoulder, bumper cracked, hood streaked,

windshield caved in where the head smashed,
and the cabbie, his hands still on the steering wheel,
kept asking, “Was that a man? Was that a man?”

In the backseats there was a galaxy of glass
and a woman on business who answered him,
“Yes, yes, for the last time, yes.”