County Youth in Accident

The story in the paper got it wrong — wasn’t how fast
I was goin’ or the road bein’ slick from rain.
It was that deer, crazy young buck,
cut right in front of me.
I was drivin’ as fast as I always do
’cept when the road’s froze up.
But that stupid deer — I forgot everything I knew
and slammed the brake. That was it, man.
I felt like a pilot whose engine quits.
You know? Not a goddamned thing you can do.
The Jeep swerved and skidded, flipped, and —
I blacked out after that.
Mr. Hanson found me wrapped around a tree.
Said he thought I was dead at first.
You should of seen my back —
I didn’t know a bruise could be huge like that.
The trooper said I must of gone through the windshield
back-first, though no one’s figured how I could fit.
My mom swears it was a miracle.
Providence, she calls it. I call it luck, pure luck.
My old man just says he’s not paying for another car
for me to wreck. He didn’t have to.
With what I already had in the bank,
the insurance gave me enough to buy Ed Junior’s Firebird.
I take that road to work and back.
Every time, coming into that curve, it’s strange,
my foot pops off the gas right where it happened.
You know the chrome rim around a windshield?
Look for it next time you drive out that way.
Funnier’n hell, all bent up, still hangin’ there
in the branches of that goddamned tree.

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David Dayton

See https://www.pw.org/directory/writers/david_dayton Here, you’ll find draft chapters of a memoir and poems I’ll select from to publish a book later this year.