umbilical

olan mills, 1999

 

right when the downhill highway has pushed me a little too forward,
a stretch of shoulder, peeling leftward, slopes up into a runaway truck ramp
just for me

red Georgia clay tattooed with skid marks,
raw terror etched in dust from tires screeching
against hysteria and choke

I nod thank you for the offer
and bend past with the curve at a high 90

I think now of my mother,
the softness of her hands,
cops at the front door, she opens
and crumples to the ground like
crinkled clothes

I toe the brakes, merge right
move with her

184 miles between us and still i am tethered,
thin as wire, soft as clay
and slowing down

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