“You and I, No Accident” by John Grey

Here’s a message to you, lover.
I’m not at my best when the cops find me.
There’s no glamour to my car
hugging a brutal pole,

my head propped up by windshield.
I think I’m better than
the names you call me but
not even a full moon can make

an impression on the trickle of blood
roaming my forehead,
shimmer it into gold.
I’m fine when I’m with you, I figure

but I am an abject failure when it’s just me
and twisted metal, scuffed and shattered wood,
flattened jack-pines, and a blitzkrieg
tire-tread blacker than the night.

This is when I’m what you say I am.
The flashing squad car lights can’t save me.
Nor the tube I blow into once they’ve
counted up my bones. Some ambulance guy

asks me to name the President.
I get it right, coyly add, “For once, he’s
having a better day than me.”
I confess that after a one-car accident,

I’m just this shadow of myself, an ashen imitation.
I can’t blame the other guy. Not even
the other woman. And there’s no raccoon back
there somewhere on the road, implicit

in my downfall. I’m not at my best
when what I am is what I did to me.
But the bruising, the pain, the bleeding,
is only half the story. I drove faster

than my life can bear, than you can assimilate.
I crashed so you won’t have to.


John Grey is an Australian born poet who works as financial systems analyst. He has been recently published in Poem, Caveat Lector, Prism International, and the horror anthology, What Fears Become with work upcoming in Potomac Review, Hurricane Review, and Pinyon.

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