There is a paper sack on the bench outside of Peet’s Coffee on 15th & Broadway. Should I call the police, a fireman, someone in the store? Report packages left unattended. There are terrorists hiding underground who come to the surface just long enough to leave packages on benches and train station platforms. Should I call someone? What should I say? There is a suspicious package on the bench. I should have to describe it. Yes, officer it is a brown paper sack. It’s an in-between size brown sack and the top is rolled down. It looks like there is something soft in there, like bread rolls, or socks, or underwear, or shit. It doesn’t smell so it probably isn’t shit. It could be a bomb, but wouldn’t a bomb be hard? Is it soft just because it looks soft? There could be something hidden down in it, something hard, plastique or plastic. What is plastique, anyway? And what is the difference between plastique and plastic. Plastique blows up. But plastic can blow up, too. Isn’t a balloon made from some kind of flexible, elastic plastic? And what about those dolls you can buy in a box and take home and blow up and make love to or put in your car so you can drive in the carpool lane until you get caught. And that can blow up in your face, let me tell you. Though I’ve never done it and never will. Someone could be trying to blow us up. To blow up the people on the sidewalk, to blow up the people in the coffee shop and the restaurant across 15th and the two across Broadway and the beauty salon and the wine shop and the Starbucks over there under McMenamin’s. Someone may be trying to blow up the kind citizens of this city, the neighbors in this neighborhood, the people playing pool and smoking cigarettes in the poolroom upstairs. Someone might have forgotten their lunch, or some kid left it there on purpose, or there is a change of clothing that a lover was bringing back to the person he doesn’t want to see anymore and she didn’t ever want to touch those clothes again. Whatever it is, it is very small. But small things can be devastating. Small bombs can blow up big things and I don’t know if we should take the chance. But it is very cold out tonight and dark and it is probably just a sack with nothing in it that anyone wants that isn’t likely to hurt anyone and I am not going to call anyone’s attention to it.
I’m in this unaccountable place, an island in the center of the tollway. A free space. A no-toll free space. Cars and trucks bomble past. Bomble, I say, hurtle, they reply, we hurtle by-bye. No, you bomb, you explode, you disappear. You bomble past and between your bombling passing in the gaps of your roar, I see the other side of the road, the banks of the asphalt stream rising toward the huddling city, a periphery to your vision of eternal highway. I am stranded on this deserted island. Slag of the highway. Concrete blocks, dumps of cement trucks done with their work dump here. But I can feel the earth shudder, I can feel it cracking, opening, I can see exiled green coming back. Illegal immigrant from the banks tunneled under, blew over, buried here, unearthing itself. Cower you fools, cower before a blade of grass, the first false leaf of a wild plant making reclamation of this earth.