I have learned a new word,
a noun, the pull-by. On narrow
dirt roads there is room for only
one car to pass at a time and

on these roads there is,
from time to time, a small
clearing in the brush by
the side of the narrow dirt

road just large enough
for a car to pull over
to allow the oncoming
car to pass and this small

clearing is called the pull-by.
You have to work together
when you see the oncoming
car, you the driver of each

car, has to decide if you will
use the pull-by or if you will
wait for your neighbor or
perhaps a stranger, a tourist

in the oncoming car to back up
to another pull-by so that you
can go by first. Sometimes
for some people there is a
dilemma, a pause, the pull
of guilt against the urge to
be aggressive and for others
a fear of masochism, the

easy giving over of territory,
need, time, one’s place in the
world. You can almost see
the struggle of these people

through the dusty windshield
and you wait to see what will
happen because you have long
ago, come to live in a place

where you don’t have to
struggle with this and so you
always go into the pull-by
that is nearest even if it means

you have to back way up. You
are not a better person, more
noble or generous than the next
one on the road, it is only that

we all know this road, how
hard, rutted, winding and long
it is which makes you want to
clear the way for someone else.

                — Francie Camper