There are things I know now, because I'm a mother of a son, that I didn’t know when you left. Like, the difference between a blue and gray shark, the mysteries of his trendy new toys, the sadness of discovering the robot you gave him was gone for good because the batteries leaked when he left it alone for too long.
Underneath all this — underneath the broken
branches, pale twigs, blown leaves, rotting
acorns, the gray mud alive
with colonies of beetles, millipedes, spiderlings,
larvae in all their tiny shapes
and sizes, above the brittle sandstone crust
that holds all this up — is the accident’s
That night, fifty years ago,
the car spun off the highway, pirouetting
(as I imagine) gracefully, swaying and toppling
as it cleared the guardrail, scattering squirrels
and groundbirds, the door opening in midflight
and pitching him out, the belly of the roof
coming to rest on him.
The night was cold,
twigs and bits of snow dug into his bare neck,
and as rescuers strained to lift the car away,
he lay here (wishing he could help) and saw
the last things he saw: blue-black sky,
pinpoint stars, night pines, tall oaks,
shadowy branches swaying in the wind.