by Alyce Wilson

The car has accordianed, but you live,
so I slip inside to hold
your head. While trucks groan
to lift the tractor trailer's rear,
I keep your spine
locked in "C position".

You are conscious, so we talk. You laugh
through oxygen bag hiss.
At 18, your car wrestled you
into school bus, then truck.
The children are fine,
I tell you, and you settle
in swampy heat. Workers
peel back dashboard and roof,
expose your thin legs,
your heaving stomach. Pain will keep you
living. You tell me about your golden retrievers
and your prom date. You nest
your sweaty head into my hands.
The saline chirps; a vinegar smell saturates
our space. Machinery groans
and clicks and I become the voice
your body floats upon;
my words will buoy you
into clean air.

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