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Brought to you by the students of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

By Randy Lehman

 

Recall the forgotten tickets on the mantle,

the welling tears in her eyes just after

the words escaped, maybe a missed field goal

to win the game, the metallo-wooden crunch

of sheet metal on the telephone pole

because ice is tricky, or maybe there was a dog

and I swerved to miss it. Or maybe I wasn’t

paying a bit of attention. Strange

that you can pay with time.

Time is money, and we don’t have money,

so get out of bed. For all her wit, my mother couldn’t

take her own advice. I was a mistake,

how could the rest of my life be anything different.

I should sue Trojan. Or someone.

I wonder if they shared that same moment

of perfectly silent wonder, a second so surreal

that there are no thoughts, no breaths, nothing

but slow motion. Perfectly sideways, gliding

in both lanes, this is how the view

should be, like an observatory car, watching the scenery

slide from right to left as the train rolls on.

You long to be with me in that moment,

even though you know how it ends. It’s like a good book

that you want to read over and over, but at the end,

you get stabbed to death.

And the book turns into a deer that bounds away.

Instantly everything changes from still

to fast forward, and quickly back to still, crinkled

tin and crumpled body and then black. One cell

becomes two. Two, four. Four, eight.

Put life into me, even if it is a mistake.

One wire swings down in one graceful arc and touches,

just once, the crinkled tin.

Mistake

 

3/24/12

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