the healing muse

Volume 11, 2011

Reincarnation at the Kmart Intersection

Sarah Jefferis

I’m late to meet the doctor
and in the other lane
someone’s grandpa tries to catch the light
and flips off his motorcycle,

rolls like a deer in the road.
Swerve around his red helmet,
think of another old man,
five years before at the same intersection,

how that bus driver stepped on the vertebrae
of the light, and gave it all up
on the steering wheel of his number 30.
Witnesses hard as ticks. No one willing

to find a pulse. Think
of the driver not hunched over,
but waltzing on dotted lines with a partner.
He’s trying to find someone

to share the salt with.
But I am on my way to make you, little risotto,
and I am late, and my eggs are only good
for a few more hours.

In my rearview, I see two green Ford trucks,
old ones, almost hit this grandpa,
and I think, stop
your car, you know how to find

the pulse, count the tango beats,
you know the breaths one needs
to keep the glaciers from melting,
the bees from dying, the levees

from dropping their lace like the slip
of the first woman you loved. That woman
who always said I didn’t mean to
the morning after she had.

How she said this every Sunday
before church. Stop the car,
that’s the priest you loved as a child,
still as fox. Be the Samaritan

your mother rehearsed in you.
Surely others will stop, others who fuck
on kitchen tables without once thinking.
Stop the car,

that was your specter of a father on the cycle,
the one who could become a grandfather,
the one who rides Harleys
through Florida everglades.

I swear I saw you,
my little risotto, standing
between bus driver
and motorcycle man,

a hand in each,
them swinging you high.
I knew then how one cannot make one
if you pass by another.

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