This is my second original poem posted here on Wit.Glass. This one originated nearly two-and-a-half years ago as a poem, but the story it tells is more than twenty years old. It is a true story—as well as I am able to re-member the fragments that remain in my memory. I have also live-recorded a spoken word performance of the poem, on my podcast WitGlass Unfiltered, along with a review of an EP from One Big Dark Room—Lex Land’s new project—titled From Hell, With Love. Here is the link to the show: WitGlass Unfiltered - Episode 26.
Shards of Memory
Shards of memory stick in different places in my mind Little slivers of time Stuck like thorns beneath the skin Little cactus spikes that hide Undisturbed Awaiting a little pressure Or a microscopic thread to latch onto them And bring them back to mind One shard: An icy road A brother driving A younger brother Out from mountains onto the plain A passing pickup So much larger than the car we are in High up the woman sits behind the wheel I can see her Still today Though somewhat blurred around the edges I see her From down below From my bucket-style midsize-car passenger seat I can still see her Passing fast Zero speed limit Montana interstate highway fast I see her tailgate out in front One car length Two car lengths Three car lengths Four car lengths Five car lengths How many car lengths? I see her tailgate wiggle Then slide left and right Left Right Left Right In wider and wider arcs Five car lengths Four car lengths I see the truck spin Knowing I can do nothing I simply sit My brother My younger brother “Behind the wheel Driving My younger brother Calm How can he be so calm? When I look at him from my passenger seat I’m thankful he’s driving Calm So calm Three car lengths I sit and watch The truck My brother I don’t remember if I said anything If I had, would it have done anything? (Did it, if I did?) I don’t remember if I did Two car lengths The truck is spinning My brother calm I simply watch One car length The truck still spinning The driver A woman Can I see her face? Did I even look at her face? In that moment of my own fear Did I look to see hers? I see the truck Spinning Facing backward The wrong way My brother calm Still so calm In the right lane The truck spinning My brother never slams the brakes Calmly Patiently Watching Waiting The truck still spinning Facing us No car lengths Our speed still high My brother still calm So controlled The truck spins down the highway in the same direction we travel But now it is slower than we are Facing the wrong way In the left lane The truck still spins My brother calmly—so calmly— Passes the truck Our car in the right lane Facing the right way Under control The truck in the left lane Facing the wrong way Out of control Spinning behind us We stay straight as the truck spins behind us Into the snow bank on the right side of the road The tailgate hits the snow bank and pushes deep The truck stops Appearing stuck Then a moment later The truck pulls out of the snow bank Back onto the road Icy road My brother driving My younger brother Along the plain One shard of time forgotten now remembered Disturbed Soon it will be forgotten again Undisturbed Awaiting some small thing to bring it to mind Disturbed again and remembered This shard of memory sticks Sometimes forgotten Then remembered Still just a fragment A sliver of time