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Post Road Magazine #32

How to Avoid a Crash

Major Jackson

Some mornings riding to work
on a road bike up a busy thoroughfare,
my hands tight around the handlebars,
I think of my face buried in the clavicles
of the women I barely knew, eyes clenched,
dispensing a slaughterhouse of whispers
in low-lit rooms of some newly-built hotel,
darkened even more by our affair
far away from my wife and their husbands,
like the one who called years after I forgot
his wife's name to say he knew what I did.

Near the off-ramp, a semi-truck's tires squeal
hard up ahead and exhaust fumes nearly blind
as I navigate periodic surges and tons of metal
accelerating by like oversized munitions.

They held tight, like me, full of an emptiness
we so longed to supplant with desire, our muscles
rough pedaling towards an imaginary terminus.

Now I make eye contact, as experts suggest,
with others whose loud music from open windows
or make-up appliqués have no chance
of sending them swerving in my direction,
jarring me off a path I work to keep,
catapulting me, eyes full of terror, over a median
and down the road's unforgiving blacktop.

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