All the worst things can afford
to happen with desperate and
unstoppable velocity, borrowing
against instant replay, foreflushing
their immense venture capital
of broken sleep and guilt.
With the quickness and finality
only the awful things can
muster, you look in my eyes
one last moment, that
innocence on you, your
feet on the new-trimmed
grass of the parking strip,
the impending rain sharp
on our nostrils.
With the perfect clarity
of slipping into entropy,
losing any illusion of control,
any illusion of understandable
worlds and mathematical
symmetry in the universe,
I know what will be,
know that I have set it in
motion, the simple fact
of my bare feet upon the
concrete the butterfly's
wingbeat to bring this
small tragedy to fruition.
Turning away, you dart,
unworried, trotting lightly
onto the crowded roadway.
The first second, your foot
scuffing on the center lane's
The second fragment of time,
the green Chrysler stopping short
and avoiding you, your head hardly
turning in its direction.
Then, as if destiny's hammer hadn't
already fallen, you jog those last
steps, coming clear of that leeside
shelter behind the minivan,
and the red snout of the
ancient Murcury encounters
The sound is tremendous,
profound as the plastic of
the bumper is pressed back,
some small part of it torn
away with the impact.
This is no perfectly elastic
collision, throwing your body
end over end, then dragging
it across yards of rough pavement,
that one last lane's width
just that one bridge too
far for your unknowing
The Mercury veers and halts,
rocking on its springs,
tangential elements of its
automotive incisors hanging
down, the broken teeth of
a fight unwanted and unlooked-for.
Instinctive, you try to get up
as you come to rest, almost
making it before the
bone-breaks and disjoined
flesh within you make themselves
Our eyes meet again, and this time,
me standing still in this same place
and feeling the first raindrops touch
my face, you starting to understand
that something has happened,
something bad, and I wonder if you
blame me, my curiosity at opening
the door and saying those words
I'll never shed but hold like strips of
rotten skin across my shoulders, I
wonder if you'll go spiraling into
whatever is or isn't coming after
with some malice for me high and
stringent in your mind.
Soon enough, the hard struggle
against your own shattered coil
is abandoned, and you sag to
the new-damp tarmac, all those
residual and aimless nerve impulses
posturing you and giving the illusion
of hope for those already wasted,
fading just as surely as suns upon
dark and polar planets yet to be
Now car doors open, mobile
phones are flipped open, people
kneel next to you and say those
gentle and meaningless things
that are said when no one has
any heart for hope.
Traffic backs up, eyes turn in my
direction, as if I can, having that
few seconds of precognition, put
some sensible words to this.
All the better elements of myself
ache to walk across that street and
at least stand above your shivering
form for a moment, pretending to
some holy power I lack.
Wishes form like perspiration upon
my soul, feeling diminished and
desiccated within me, but wishes
are nothing beside cowardice,
and as rain comes more freely out
of the indeterminate sky, I
walk slowly to the door and
leave you, stranger, to your death
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