Merge, my father screamed at me, merge, at the end
of the entry ramp, where I choked before the gore
area, stunned by the dizzying stream of cars

self-welding into a rapid wall of metal,
his voice alarming me as I searched for a merciful
gap but how could I spot it and accele-

rate in a second to seize my place in the reckless
rush? — suddenly the stalled and furious horns
behind me began to honk their heads off, as if,

starved of movement a minute more, they’d croak …
Now, somewhere on my crisscross highways of neurons
I’m white-knuckled in the din and stalling,

hurtling in a perturbed and perpetual stillness.

Philip Fried has published eight volumes of poetry, most recently AMONG THE GLIESIANS (Salmon Poetry, Ireland, 2020).