The Car Crash

That time, playing in the muck,
foot emerging without boot,
hopping and laughing
all the way home.

Then, later, on the bus
that car hitting where we sat
the windshield cracking
like a giant spider
blood all over the dead lady’s face.

I thought I’d made it
when my new car had a sunroof
kids riding along, music blaring

But trauma is a spider
Arachne reaching into happy places
and as much as I speed up to avoid her

Fight to disable her attack
she weaves herself new limbs
begins the onslaught anew

And I am stuck in the mud again
no longer limber enough
to dance my way home in the rain.


The Diving Accident

The moment I felt my foot slip, I knew I was in trouble.  I attempted the flip anyway, wanting to impress my 10 year-old friend.

I didn’t pull out on time.

My head hit the bottom of the pool, and as my neck snapped back, I was intensely aware that this was the end.  Now paralyzed, my body sunk.  My eyes sought the surface of the water, searching for some hope, but all I could see was a blinding light.

Distracted, I momentarily forgot my predicament.  Why have I never noticed the sun from here before?  I wondered.  An avid swimmer, I loved swimming underwater with my eyes open, performing tricks and pretending I was a mermaid or a dolphin. This day, I decided to practice my ‘Olympic’ dives.  My friend, who was a year older, wasn’t quite as brave.  I might have been showing off a bit.

It’s not the sun, I realized.  The white light was encompassing me now, and with it I felt a deep sense of calm and peacefulness.  My moment had come.

Come home, the light beckoned.

But I just got started!  Do I have to?

No.  You can stay, but you have to know it won’t be easy.

It’s okay, my mind responded.  I am strong.

You will have to be strong, but you will never be alone.

A force of love lifted me from that water, and I watched myself climb the ladder and collapse on the ground.   Then I was me again, shaken and trembling, but alive.  My friend had disappeared.  I hoped she’d gone for help, but when none materialized, I knew I had to make myself move.

I escaped that day with a cracked vertebrae, and a summer of sleeping on a hard board while it healed: a hardship I would soon forget.  The memory of that white light, though, has never left me.  I was nine when I had my first taste of how sacred life is, and learned that it is not a destination, but a journey.