• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 10

Car Crash

The tree of life, I’ve heard it called.
We all dangle on the same tree, roots
so deep, so common, fed by
the same babbling stream,
babbling like a soundtrack
of a bad B-movie—my film,
the film of my life. As it is,
might be, could be, but isn’t.

My life, a car crash—everyone’s
life has its moments, those
pivotal scenes, a crisis,
a question, a choice,
a serendipitous
turn of the road
that sends us, brakes
squealing, tires burning,
slamming through the guardrails,
reeling over the edge,
and shattering down a ravine or
straight ahead, an overcorrection
into a two-hundred-year-old red oak.

Dead stop.

My life, one car crash
after another—a wheel lost here,
fractured windshield there,


Car Crash

air bags on steroids, engine light
blinking on and off,
fiberglass body crumpled
beyond repair.

The tree of life—yours,
mine, whomever’s—is stacked
with demolition wreckage.
It’s up there where the canopy
ought to be, as if that’s
what life is for.

We all grow on that tree,
one on top of another,
branching gnarled or straight
with seasons of leaves
that leaf and leave
in time. The tree
is everywhere.

We’re what comes and goes,
leaving behind only our wreckage.