The car veers left,
hits the curb, ascends,
arcs down heavily into mud.
I sway out from the wreck
across the small street
into a gold house. (The car
is also golden, from the heyday
of muscle cars, once blocky-build solid, now
a folded mess behind me.)
There’s an engagement party going on —
and I am incoherent, my speech
broken into honest chunks
that do not connect to each other
once they’re out of my mouth.
Solicitous at first, the staid white people
soon shuffle me outside and sit me down
outside on the step.
Suddenly, the police
are all around.
They want to know my name,
look at my license,
call me a liar.
I try to explain — look at the car!
Look at how messed up it is, look at
my sloppy feet, my speech full of holes,
how hard this all is for me. Can’t you see
the wreckage? I’m not myself, no wonder
you don’t believe me. Call a doctor, an ambulance,
I have to get home…
The bride to be watching
from her fiance’s arms
more than I am. The whole family
is frowning, uncertain, terrorized.
All the cops want to know
is why there’s a knife in my pocket.
What am I doing here? Why so far
from home? What’s my intent?
No one’s shut the music off, and the soundtrack
for all of this is Mama Cass crooning
as I slowly move from anger to fear
in time with my clearing head…I don’t know
the answers, why I was driving so fast
in such a torrential rain, why this road,
how I know these people I’ve never seen before…
they’re twisting my arm as they lift me
from the step…
And I am awake. In my own bed,
my name in my billfold beside me on the table.
I look at it to be sure.
I get up, go to the couch.
I’ll make coffee a few minutes from now
and then get ready for work,
once I figure out
why there is always a knife in my pocket,
who these people around me are,
what I am doing so far from home
and why I drove so fast to get here
to a place I do not recognize
only to end up wrecked
in a cold and steady rain.