On My Birthday I Witness a Car Accident and Can’t Help but Call It a Metaphor

Teo Mungaray

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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