Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Three-Inch Concrete Walls

My neighbor's car was totalled
in the middle of the night. We heard the bang and leapt from bed,
came to our front porches in shorts and bathrobes
to watch the red-and-blues flash. They'd hit it so hard
it spun out, hit a telephone pole
across the street and two doors up. My neighbor's son said:
"Fifteen minutes ago
I was in that car."

There are neighborhoods in this town
that don't have sidewalks. They're called dangerous
because only gravel separates lawn-playing kids
from passing traffic in uncurbed streets. Mud splashes
in and out of potholes.

We cling to three-inch concrete walls
as if they could protect us. As if
the speeding steel tigers wouldn't jump these tiny fences,
drag us from our yards and tear us to pieces in the street
like my neighbor's son's car.

We're confused about the meanings of risk.
We depend too much on curbs and guardrails.
Fifteen minutes ago
I was in that car.

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

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