For Gregory Martin, Killed in Morning Traffic
June 24, 2009
An engine whines. Spools of grackle chatter
unwind midair. You are parked on the shoulder,
motor idling, not driving to work. All around you,
the mad game—cars hovering near wreck. Any one
could swerve and heave.
Potential energy released.
Beyond the hill, morning’s predictable star climbs,
its light like spun gold through the windshield.
Other plans can’t be known—a coat’s pockets filled
with river rock, the hunting knife shoved just left
of your breastplate.
Eventually, the car door opens.
Someone notices, neck craned to watch your figure
in the rearview—someone to catch the story
on Local News 9 and recall. Or no one pays heed.
This is only one version:
you pray for the trucker
to forgive himself, to blame the glint of sun in his eye.
Then you step into the right lane. Carapace
of ribbed torso breaking open, body shattering
across morning. The semi’s grillwork knifed with blood,
with the intricate lace of gut. Last, the horn’s long cry.