David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
The Emotional Tollbooth

November 18, 2021

Pity you behind me at the emotional tollbooth,

Sighing as I pick through wooden nickels,

Foreign currency and arcade coins.

I labor to figure out the rates

For navigating the roads I've driven,

Winding, demanding, trying,

Blind spots hidden in long stretches

Of tedium, traps and detours,

Miles of endless stop and go,

Windows rolled up but no end

To the exhaust of my fellow travelers.

There's no clerk to take my fare,

Whatever it calculates to.

An egghead shinier than mine

Can probably call the total.

I see the gestures you exaggerate:

I guess you've been down this road

Before me as you pile up behind me,

Horns blaring, lights flashing

Waiting to see if I end up crashing

Through the gate and into the night.

Whatever I drop into that basket

Merely will set off bells and whistles,

So I hold it back in my clenched hands.

Certainly the cameras along the way

Captured what I most need to know,

The emergency stops and stays

Making a difference in my sum,

Not sure how the weight in the back

Was captured at the strained scales.

Someone just tell me what to give up,

What I need to complete the sale.