Post Road Magazine #26

For the Young Woman I Saw Hit by a Car While Riding Her Bike

Laura Kasischke

I'll tell you up front: She was fine—although
she left in an ambulance because
I called 9-1-1

and what else can you do
when they've come for you
with their sirens and lights
and you're young and polite
except get into their ambulance
and pretend to smile?

"Thanks," she said to me
before they closed her up. (They

even tucked
her bike in there. Not
one bent spoke on either tire.) But I

was shaking and sobbing too hard to say good-bye.

Later, at a party, I imagine her telling her friends, "It

hardly grazed me, but
this lady who saw it went crazy. . ."

I did. I was
molecular, while
even the driver who hit her did
little more than roll his eyes, while

a trucker stuck at the intersection, wolfing
down a swan
sandwich behind the wheel, sighed. Some-

one touched me on the shoulder
and asked, "Are you all right?"

(Over
in ten seconds. She
stood, all
blonde, shook
her wings like a little cough.)

"Are you
okay?" someone else asked me. Uneasily. As if

overhearing my heartbeat
and embarrassed for me
that I was made
of such gushing meat
in the middle of the day on a quiet street.

"They should have put her
in the ambulance, not me."

Laughter.
Shit happens.
To be young.
To shrug it off:

But, ah, sweet
thing, take
pity. One

day you too may be
an accumulation

of regrets, catastrophes.
A clay animation
of Psalm 73. (But

as for me, my feet. . .) No. It will be
Psalm 45: They

saw it,
and so they marveled; they
were troubled, and hasted away.
Today

you don't remember the way
you called my name, so
desperately, a thousand times, tearing

your hair, and your clothes on the floor, and
the nurse who denied your morphine
so that you had to die that morning
under a single sheet
without me, in
agony, but

this time I was beside you.
I waited, and I saved you.
I was there.


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