On My Birthday I Witness a Car Accident and Can’t Help but Call It a Metaphor
I’m on the corner of the sidewalk and it’s raining,
because of course it must be. For the car
to run the red light, for the darkness of 7 p.m., for the
crunch-splash-shatter combination of the impact,
for the metaphor, it must be. I am on the corner
of the sidewalk, waiting to cross so I can drink beer
and read a book alone, surrounded by strangers
with no interests or stakes in me. I do this often,
reading by myself among the drinking.
Is it gauche to compare the beer taps to rain? The trajectory
of my life to that SUV? The relatively good outcome —
no injuries, no one going too fast, just smashed front ends —
to how I survive despite my best attempts at self-destruction?
If it is, well, I’ve gone and done it, haven’t I?
I’ve put the words down, as if I’m not desperate for you
to tell me it’s ok, to forgive my lack of art here.
I have a confession: I called 911 and crossed the street.
I drank two beers, took a cab to a hotel
where a man I’ve never met told me I was a good boy,
who whispered Happy Birthday when he finished.
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