RITA MAE REESE
Within Five Miles of Home
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
has banned its employees from using the word accident
because it gives the idea that accidents are outside of human control
but I have seen my hands twitch the wheel, the chainsaw jump
from wood to arm, an icy bridge slip a standing man
straight down twenty feet, cigarettes relight after I’ve fallen asleep.
Even God acknowledges accidents, commanding
the Israelites to set aside Six Cities of Refuge where anyone
who accidentally killed another must remain until the death of the high priest.
There is a city of refuge inside of me where I wait.
I wait for thieves to take everything,
for her to remarry, for our children to grow old without me
while she sends word for my return.