artwork by Eva Kelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Collide

by Andrew David King

 

happening so fast

her foot

             slender porcelain doll

             stretching across

beaten asphalt

stripped palm trees waving

thin shadows, the arms of skeletons

             across her path

             eyes fixed on clouds the shapes of animals

the sound of the desperate commute

             hushed

             like the silence between heartbeats

the world on its tiptoes

             across the street on the other pole

             on the sign the little white lit-up man appears

                        proclaiming “WALK”

and candy-apple-red sparkling high-heels

             dance graciously

shopping bags in hand

floating, as if weightless

             at her side

             her gaze straight-ahead

summer breeze whispering rumors in open ears

             while at the other end of the pavement

the predator

             her opponent rumbles

                        dressed not so kindly

in twisted metal and eighteen wheels

covered in dirt, silt, and the love of the road

             suddenly screaming the high-pitched whine

             of metal against metal

and soon no one watching is a spectator

she turns her head

             with calculated precision

             no expression on her face as of yet

                        silently the light turns red

it’s spitting up dirt and gravel

             pieces of the cracked road

careening

whining and screaming to stop

             the dusty faded-paint buildings stare contentedly

             as if they know

                        what will happen next

the second hand clicks twice

in a macabre blur

the air in the lungs of those watching

             turns to ice

                        and they freeze

no, this isn’t happening

             not right here, not in front of us

             oh my god oh sweet jesus no

and not one eyelash dares to blink

time stands perfectly still

             the flurry of flesh

             no match for a machine

                         she flies through the air coming to rest

some twenty-odd feet away

sprawled, a dead animal

             on the butcher’s cart

her possessions thrown across the

four corners of the intersection

             a red apple rolls to a halt in the gutter

all traffic stops

             all hearts stop momentarily

                        hers, permanently

grabbing his hat feebly trembling

rushed tears carving canyons out of his face

             the driver races over to her

             oh my god oh sweet jesus no

and suddenly the wind has stopped

             whispering

             two elongated skid marks

mark the road that has been

beaten time and time before

             two black fangs reaching out longing to devour

the trickle of red that emanates

             like an aural glow from her skull

             her eyes open meaninglessly

no longer looking at clouds shaped like animals

the red river flows down the street

             into the gutter

             slowly consuming the bystanders in their minds

                        a deep, vibrant red

her candy-apple sparkling high heels

             the apple that rolled into the gutter

             red as the stoplight

                        now red like the sirens

suddenly painting this twilight horror-show into a dream

her final resting place won’t be in a grave

             but etched forever in minds

as her figure, limp

             lifeless

             the red flows from her body

returning to the earth

flowing over off-white degraded

             crosswalk lines

             in a street

covered with the tattoos of endless forgotten skid marks

             each one the abrupt end

                        of a story.