| Filed under

Contributor: M. Krochmalnik Grabois

- -
The poet laureate
was on her bike
a Classic Schwinn
red and chrome
that she polished
as a zen exercise
before each ride

The bike was on the asphalt
rolling forward
propelled by her pedaling feet and legs
but the poet was in her head
(no longer in the “holy here-and-now”
about which she’d written so many poems)

She was in her head
playing with onomatopoeia
and variations of the word “vermiform”
and contemplating metaphors
when she collided with a garbage truck

She ran right into its side!
It was hard to figure how she could do that
given the truck’s size
and color
bright green like a piece of sun-dappled forest
and its smell
of horridly ripe refuse
and its loudness
as it compressed the latest submissions
thrown over the transom of its maw

The answer, of course, was that she wasn’t in the world
she was 100% in her own head
and later, when I heard this sad news
I remembered attending a workshop
with the poet laureate

The moderator of a panel
asked whether poetry could save one’s life
and she answered enthusiastically and warmly
in the affirmative

but the moderator didn’t ask
if poetry could kill you

Fortunately her collision with the garbage truck
one of thousands owned by Waste Management
allegedly a Mafia business
didn’t kill her
She sort of bounced off it
not as cleanly as a rubber ball off a wall
but cleanly enough not to get dragged
under its massive wheels

(which had been the fate of another friend
also an intellectual
though not a poet
a sociological observer of culture
and it was not a garbage truck
but a moving van
taking the possessions of half a broken family
from Key West
which had once been Paradise for them
to Ohio, their state of origin
which they had never considered Paradise

and the wife
--who was the moving van part of the
broken family, while her husband stayed in their house
located on Love Lane
off Fleming Street, next to the public library--

never knew that it was her possessions
that had been the instrument
of this woman’s death
even though she read about the
fatality in the paper—
she just never added 1 + 1
to get 2
which was fortunate

because she was already distraught
after learning that her husband had
been having an affair
with an older woman
whose face was lined with “character,” as her husband put it
while her face was smoothed by decades of moisturizer and
more recently, botox
an ironic affair

exactly the sort of trauma
that the poet laureate often enjoyed
in her poems
never having been married herself)

The poet laureate
suffered only abrasions and contusions
words that were as significant
and concretely dense with meaning
as a red wheelbarrow

- - -
M. Krochmalnik Grabois’ poems have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He is a regular contributor to The Prague Revue, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, most recently for his story “Purple Heart” published in The Examined Life in 2012, and for his poem. “Birds,” published in The Blue Hour, 2013. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for 99 cents from Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition.


Powered by Blogger.