Accident weather: sheet rain, relentless spray
thrown up from tires, the road a slippery gray
in which car headlights shimmer like fish scales,
while drowning houses blink through damp green veils.
And I take care now; I take so much care
to feed the wheel through fingers, prayer by prayer
for all the travelers cased in treacherous metal,
sweating the wet commute with foot to pedal,
because a month ago in strobe light sun
on a road scrubbed clean and dried, I killed someone,
though I was not, no, I was not to blame.
He did not see me turning left. He came
hurtling up on his black sclerite bike.
Perhaps he screamed before I felt the strike
of his helmet on the rear door of the van.
I do not know. I heard nothing. The man
and bike slid, unredeemable, to the ground.
Then the bright crowd gathered, mouths in round
o’s of melodrama. The police said he
was riding too fast. It wasn’t me. Not me.
I saw his body, whole as if asleep
upon the asphalt, bike a yard sale heap.
So little blood! Death in a sky blue cloak,
arriving like the punch line of a joke
I didn’t quite get.
Now, in the wind and rain,
with that comic, Death, stalking the wings again,
it won’t be my fault. (It wasn’t.) These days I drive
with so much care, the man would have to live.
from Rattle #30, Winter 2008
Anna M. Evans: “‘Crash’ epitomizes the relationship between poetry and truth. Whenever I read it, people approach me afterwards to ask if it is a true story. ‘Does it feel like I true story?’ I ask in return. ‘Because if it does, then it is as true as it needs to be.’” ( web)