The Road I Couldn’t Travel

We live on the dash between our birth day and our death day. Jesse Jackson

Driving home today, rain bucketing down,
forming an opaque curtain over my car’s windshield.
Four lanes over, I saw a small silver sedan spin out,
skid around and smash into the gray concrete barrier.

A small blackish shape cycloned up
like the house in the Wizard of Oz.
I ducked, then flinched, as the object smashed down.
divoting the glass above my head , then disappears.

I drove home thinking about close we come,
only to find it’s someone else’s turn.
The way death comes calling, then skitters away,
like a ghoulish game of doorbell ditch.

I spent years fending the Grim Reaper off,
trying to stop him from taking my son.
My heart knew when I’d lost the battle,
even if my brain was slow to catch up.

Yet how easily I forget the dance,
the way it only takes a moment,
a bit of black ice, a blind curve
for everything to upend and change.

The life that was supposed to be mine,
rolling out in front of me like an open road.
Arriving at an intersection to find it closed for construction,
a repair that will never be made.

Detoured to the left, only to realize
that straight was never an option.
No way to recapture the one thing
I would have given anything to have back.

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  • Melisa says:

    So many beautiful images in your poem. Realizing that going ‘straight was never an option’ seems like a step along the road to healing. I applaud you for finding it. I am still driving fast down the straight road that ends with a road closed sign. Time to slow down and hold that image to my heart. thank you.

    • Margo Fowkes says:

      Thank you so much, Melisa. It’s so hard to let go of that straight road, the one we thought we were promised, especially when the detour involves so much pain. May you find a way to make the turn when your heart is ready 💙

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