Saturday, March 11, 2006

Kharma Dodgers

The highway walls cut the noise of the city
away from the clean blue of the sky as I
head toward San Francisco. Years ago, young
and drunk, we came speeding out of the curving
on ramp, veering across the empty freeway,
laughing, until we came out of the sloping
spiral of the interchange, and saw policemen
loading a body bag into the back
of a darkened ambulance. No blood or sirens,
just the debris of something catastrophic
glittering up from the grooved road behind us
as we continued our forward trajectory.

Kharma is always a casual belief until
I allow myself to tabulate the exact
number of miseries required to justify
the current state of things. In ten years of driving
you've never had an accident. How
many times did a car windshield split your face down
the middle, sliding the flesh off your skull like a glove,
the way a highway patrolman once explained
to me, or a steering wheel break the hinge
of your ribs, for you to get off scott-free this time
around? Life must be awkward in the aftermath
of something like that.

I analyze the symmetry of my own features
sometimes, trying to determine exactly how many
accidents and circumstances are averaged into my face.

Two years after you moved I rolled my car end over end
four times on my way to see you, and crawled out
of the crushed steel covered in glass dust, untouched. I couldn't
drive for years after that, for fear of what fate might still have
in store for me, of how many more lives I might have to live
with skewed limbs, or wrecked ambitions.


Sitting in the park, baking in the sun, our legs tanned and hard
in front of us as we lean back on our arms watching the shimmering
surface of the sea, a kind of melancholy comes over me, like a shadow
seeping out from behind the pristine dimensions of our bodies,
wondering if all that suffering was worth what we've become.

1 Comments:

Blogger Amy said...

Wonderful as always!

8:53 AM  

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