an on-line poetry magazine
for the 21st century

WINTER 2021-22

 

Kathaleen Donnelly

ACCIDENT

A chipmunk scurrying across the road

as I passed on my bicycle speeding,

turned on a dime in the opposite direction

the precise moment our paths crossed,

met with my spinning wheel, its fragile

soft form run over in a fraction of a second,

a fatal error in calculation, now left inert

to return to earth, only we were on asphalt.

I carried this small death with me through

the day into the next, I carry it still.

It happened so fast a blink of an eye, a cough,

a sneeze, and I might not have noticed

a life ended, tragically, senselessly, for no

particular reason, it just did.

How could its kin know it could not return?

Perhaps they knew somehow and I don’t

need to carry that too. I’d like to believe it lived

in the moment, had no dreams or plans

for its future, no one depended onit to carry through

on anything – sustenance, protection or the like.

I wanted to rewind the tape, begin my trip

a second later or take another road home.

I could have driven slower, had the time to swerve,

avoid what needn’t have happened.