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I'm a Minnesota Girl, living in the south. I tell my friends I try not to talk and think like a Yankee, but sometimes I slip up!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Some images never leave you....

I had a serious car accident in 1994, and narrowly escaped one two decades before that. In both instances, what has stayed with me through the years is the sounds, the horrible, jarring sounds that seemingly never go away and wake you, years later, drenched in terror, reliving it all again. Not much of my poetry is caught up in drama or events... but this one materialized after I narrowly escaped an accident near Clearwater, FL, in 2003.


Just another traffic jam.

Blocked for miles, lanes of traffic

Simmering with the lack of forward movement.

Time passes and your fears and frustration mount.

What haunts me are the sounds

Strident blare of sirens

Fumbling moves to the grass

Out of the way as ambulance passes.

We try to find pavement again

Plotting strategy, nowhere to exit.

When a second vehicle of death and damage

Elbows its way through, siren screaming its mission.

Now a vague uneasiness settles

We all wonder about the human suffering

Ahead, and wish

To be anywhere but here.

Minutes pass and there is a channel

Finally a way to the outside

Off the path, small road, too much egress

Stopped, waiting.

“Squeal” too tame to describe

The fierce cacophony

Of brakes applied roughly

Trying to hold, failing, seeming doubled in volume.

Followed by the rough horror

Of metal on metal

A crunching agony of twisting

Damage is a haunting sound.

Rough embrace of power from behind

Pushing, shredding both mine and

My neighbor’s car, the other lane

Also in fierce crescendo.

And then silence

The impact too intrusive,

Too surreal and invasive to believe.

Out of the car, try to breathe.

Accident caused by accident

Everyone stunned and broken

Thankful that there are no bleeding injuries.

At my side an aching throb of wounded ribs.

We survey the twisted kingdom

Of men’s chariots, now in pieces.

The waiting begins for

The arrival of the peace officers.

For at last, there is peace for us

Nowhere to go, little to say

Nothing to accomplish

Needing to pick up the pieces

And move on.

The sounds will resonate in dreams.




Pam said...

Oh my! Oh my! Visceral!

I was holding my breath!

Kelly said...

Yes, this definitely presents a clear image! Thankfully, I've only been in one accident and it wasn't serious.

Algernon said...

Yeesh, that is evocative all right. We were just in Los Angeles for a few days and the traffic there is harrowing, dangerous, and set me on edge for the entire vacation.