This is something that quickly became something else...it might become different things later, but now stands as weird, stream of consciousness diatribe thought mass...enjoy.
Then, it was over. I couldn't do anything.
He would not be visiting beside my bed
With the others. Outside the trauma ward,
He was gone. He was surrounded by
Those that were not there, were there
For him after. Everything now is
After. The phone is blank. The bottle
Is full. In bed, I could not remember
The drive, the ebb and rise in my bones
Flashed only the rushing, screeching end,
The burn and shock, the cold, surreal
And lonely truth. This is something
That happens. There is a script and a
Cast of characters--the grieving,
The injured, the dead, the uninvolved,
The ones that saw it all. To find oneself
A player, center stage, spotlit
On the pavement, alive inside a line
In the online news, opens and closes
The other, outer world at once. This is fodder
For late-afternoon morality plays-
He was a good friend, a good guy,
A loving son, another number, a lesson,
A reminder, a real, goddamn person.
Fuck, he's gone. Three months of late
Night nurses, blood and urine, tiny, plastic
Cups and nervous, smiling optimism. Hundreds
Of people, of papers, of shuffle-hop steps
Hunched hard against the dingy foam
Wrapped and duct-taped to the walker handle.
His family, my wife, my family and friends
Sat and waited, listened for a call, straining
To explain another way, another reason.
He lay, strapped, above me, the textured plastic
Of the truck's center console crisp and present,
The upholstery just as it had been.
His eyes were closed, his hands still thick
And capable. I left him there, scraping against
The broken glass, hitting the air, figuring it out.
A stranger cradled me in her lap as I shivered.
"You have to call my wife."
"I don't have insurance."
Her friend went to help mine. I never saw
Him after. At dinner in rehab every day
The news plastered flat, primary-colored
Graphics, bright starburst marking the latest
Collision, someone died or someone didn't,
Injured, on the run, traffic will delay,
A minor obstacle for the commute.
God, his parents can't call him. The lawyer
Won't bring him back. The D.A. will not
Turn back time and be there to stop it.
That first night is three months gone,
But three months doesn't buffer twenty-six
Years. Fifteen minutes erase it.
It is erased from my life.
It is erased from all.
No more music, no more news without
Archiving all of these memories
1 year ago