“Oops” by Sabrina Swerdloff

Sabrina Swerdloff (age 11)


I watched
From my window
The bodies fall out. 
I watched the bus
Slam, bang, crash
Into the side of 
The Bay Bridge. 
You were on the news, 
One of the cadavers on the road
With no news headlines to tell. 
The driver was on the news as well, 
Babbling about “brake failure”
And “petrol leak” but 
Really it was a careless swerve 
A gas tank being crushed
And fire everywhere. 
Really it was a mistake, 
A momentary loss of balance, 
A big yellow bus
Slam, bang, crash, 
Into the side 
Of the Bay Bridge. 
And as I watch from my window
The ambulance come, 
Take you and the rest of them 
I think to myself that maybe it was fate. 
Some higher calling 
That caused your blood to spill, 
That caused the bus to turn rapidly, 
123 miles per hour
You could have been home. 
Some higher calling
That decided that
It would be that particular
Petrol tank to explode
And toss its inhabitants
Onto the tarmac like salad. 
There were 16 channels broadcasting this
One for every other car 
That had been affected. 
They call this “collateral damage.”
The news report
18 deaths, 4 injuries, 
22 people on the bus
Not including the driver. 
The driver
Was fine.

from 2014 Rattle Young Poets Anthology

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