The sound of willow birds chirping, the beeping heart gone flat.
Your IV drip. The coffee pot refilled. The sound of first steps, the ones untaken.
The ring of your urn against the railing. The ocean’s pretense of returning.
Like we could walk over and over together, a record stuck on loop,
this song of maple leaves scraping outside our window.
This lullaby, drowning the sound
of your door become a wall, your room painted over, the maple now bare.
Take me back to the crash, as happy as I am to be done with the pill-bottle-fogs, to walk to the bathroom without being planted like a fern on the toilet. As happy as I am looking through windows, knowing I’m not bound to the chair-- take me back to the crash. Take me to the right after, where the truck drives through me, where the windshield splinters. Take me to the seconds when streetlamps hang from sidewalks and I fall through the rain. Take me back to when I was twisted on the asphalt, when the eardrum burst, when the leg snapped, when I didn’t feel a thing, but knew this was my body-- and this was me breathing.
-- Kevin Dougherty was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and under a tree. Currently an MFA candidate at the University of Arkansas, he enjoys writing poems about skin, water, and accidents. Work of his has previously appeared in the 30th anniversary edition of The Allegheny Reviewand Bowling Green University’s Prairie Margins.