We were driving a small station wagon that has now spent
six winters of quiet rust in a central Minnesota salvage yard
bending the sky above its curved windshield without cease.
Colonies of insects have lived and died in its weed-twined hulk.
The crash itself sounded like a brown paper bag blown fat
then popped loud as a gunshot in a tiled gymnasium; the car
struck the concrete divider, the hood buckled, glass rained
sharp pebbles across my nose split clean open and my hands
flung up like startled birds. Now, sifting from the piney
scruff edging the junkyard, silent as whitetails, we come:
my son toddling with his broken collar-bone my wife wincing
inside her cracked ribs the terrorized gaze of our daughter
floating in the dusk and my shirt heavy with its dark stain.
Though years have passed, we are not ghosts. The word is too simple
for what we have become out here in the woods in our hovel
of bark and bent branches with no need for a campfire to warm us.