Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2011 v10n1
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Black Ice

Each car fanning off, right and left,
                                  is a different disaster. The headlights gleam, show the curve
of guard rails. Hazards blink.                         A door opens
to the cold. I see the face of a woman turning
toward us, but we don’t stop—

Rain becomes skater’s ice, most slippery when
            closest to freezing,                 easy to glide across.

The car fishtails right—
            we’re suspended in each second, one giving way
                        till the next spin is a slow, smooth arc and we face
                        the headlights of the car that was behind us—

I grip the vinyl seam of my seat—
A film of molecules
separates us from the pavement.


For a long time after, when I drove and saw a certain kind of tree,
a tall, singular tree, by the side of the road, I’d think hard, Don’t—
though my hands on the wheel wanted it, the way
a Ouija board always spells out the name of someone
you know, same as that.  end

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