Saturday, February 11, 2012

Time Licks All Wounds

I come around a corner of the road
That winds through the Colorado's canyons,
The sort of mostly empty, scenic route
One can drive on a February day
With the red cliffs and grey skies to oneself,

And I'm brought up short by a line of cars
On a hairpin curve behind flashing lights.
I park and wait. More enterprising men
Get out of their trucks and walk to the front
To ask the police what happened. Not me.

I prefer not to start conversations
With uniformed men who wear guns to work,
Especially not near blue and red lights.
I sit and wonder how bad the wreck was
Too far up ahead for my line of sight.

I'm in no hurry. I'm driving alone.
Still, I'm eager to ask the ones who asked
What, if anything, they found out. Not much
Except the slightly disappointing news
That it's a spilled load of hay blocks the road,

Which is both relief and anti-climax,
Not to mention curiously rustic.
So we wait as hay gets cleared off the road
And my mind rummages through its own past
For prior accidents and near misses,

The car that clipped me as a teen driver,
The nasty thwack at an intersection,
The fender-bender as a passenger
In the front seat of a too-cautious friend,
The heart-pausing slide off ice into snow,

The truckload of vegetables overturned
At twilight in the Nevada desert,
The white-tailed doe that jumped into the road
And frightened me badly in Wyoming,
The moose missed on the Yukon logging road,

The dog that ran out in Namibia
In the doggy belief I would speed up,
Then  got tangled in a tire when I braked
Hard, out of panic, trying to miss it.
In my rear view I saw it limp away.

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