When I hit a bump in the road, I never think bump. I think
poor, big man lying in the middle of the road. And once again
I've hit him, flattened him good, all four wheels, dead center.
pppp I'm headed home. It's always dark. Sometimes rainy. I say,
"Oh dear, not again." This poor man should be asleep in his
red chaise lounge. His fried chicken dinner half eaten, and he
settled in for the evening, his mother knitting beside him, a
cat or two licking their tails.
pppp I think if it was only a bump, a huge unrepentant swelling
of pavement. If only, minutes before, the man told his mother,
"I think I'll read a book tonight. Sit here in my red chaise
lounge." A bump would be so much simpler. No pity. No
remorse. And his mother so much like mine.
pppp Now she's alone. She's wishing her son through the front
door, past the telephone table, across the blue-flecked
linoleum. How much he loves her chicken. Who wouldn't?
Especially the wings and thighs.
pp Then there's the road. It's no help. "Screw the man," it
tells me in the wet, raspy voice of a road. Still I bite my lip as
I try to remember back, sort the bumps from the men, the
men from the bumps.
From YOU CAN TELL THE HORSE ANYTHING (Tupelo Press, 2003)