Your voice still burning in my ears, I slammed
the car door, drove away, away from you.
Night, single-lane service road, divided
from the highway by a walled embankment.
The rain fell in torrents, alternating
lightning and wind. Suddenly, from out of
the oncoming lane, a red sedan veered,
crossed the solid yellow median, towards me –
Caught between the onrush of traffic
accelerating to the highway merge
on one side, and the wall on the other.
No room to move, and the oncoming car
nearly on me, three-and-a-half thousand
pounds of steel at 60 mph.
In that moment there was no cinema
reel of my own life flickering in front
of me. Only you, images of you –
you in anger, eyes flashing; you caught in
a half-stifled yawn; you smiling at a
shared secret; you falling into dreaming.
And in that instant, an overwhelming,
clarifying sadness enveloped me.
I braked hard, my traction control stuttered
alive, and tried to swerve from the headlong
rush of eternity bearing on me,
towards the steep embankment, choosing life.
Heavy steel raked into the driver's side,
shearing off my door, my armor, my shell.
The side structural pillar buckled, but
held, a barricade against the abyss.
Still belted in my seat, I breathed in rain.
Around my silence lay shattered glass and
insulation, fiberglass and steel - like
Icarus' wings, feathers and melted wax
fallen from his shoulders - strewn there where my
broken body might have been, where it all
might have ended. There in the wreckage of
my old world, caught in the lightning strobe and
the ambulance flash, holding on to your
image, a time-reversed Polaroid fading
into sepia, a memento of that
instant when I thought I’d lost - everything.