Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Ted Kooser: Mudflaps

Out driving, I like to come up behind trucks

with mudflaps, chalky, slate-colored ones

hanging onto their hard jobs, ice and mud

stuck to their faces and, in big block letters,

some company’s name on the back, as if on

a T-shirt. I know how that kind of work feels,

blind to what may be ahead, clinging by

cold, riveted fingers while an enterprise roars

into an uncertain future, wipers slapping,

slowing a little when going uphill, rolling

faster and faster on the way down and, on

long sweeping curves, swinging you out

toward the precipice side. Now I’m retired,

just out for a drive, wrist casually draped

over the wheel, the other hand adjusting

the heater controls. I always slow down

to admire those hard-working mudflaps

hanging onto their jobs, not glancing over

at me as I pull out to pass and drive on.


Copyright 2021 Ted Kooser. Published by permission of the author.

Ted Kooser is the former Poet Laureate of the United States. His many books include Kindest Regards: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon, 2018).

2 comments on “Ted Kooser: Mudflaps

  1. singancestory
    May 13, 2021

    Gifts of Ted Kooser manifest gratitude of simple observation with a passionate depth, enroute. Kindly Kate Clare

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rose Mary Boehm
    May 11, 2021

    I never thought about mudflaps, until there weren’t any. Terrific poem.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on May 11, 2021 by in Opinion Leaders, Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , , , , , , .

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