An interdisciplinary journal about regions, places, and cultures of the US South and their global connections

Accidents Happen with Clockwork Regularity

For example, when you catch yourself mid-step
and shift your foot aside to avoid crushing
the brilliant green beetle on the sidewalk,
just missing it. The campus bell tower rings noon
in the distance as you stoop for a closer look,
drawn by the insect's metallic sheen. And then you see
that your killing step would have been redundant.
Something has happened, something final.
Already the ants are at their efficient work,
twisting the beetle slowly from side to side
like waves rocking an empty boat. The bells
keep time, twelve dull movements of a slow dance.
Something moves the ants for a while. Something
moves you on. The sky is terribly the same,
full of small engines, birdsong, momentary clouds.
And then you are in your kitchen, cutting onions
at the counter as tears roll from your burning eyes,
waiting for the nightly news while the chicken thaws
in the sink, waiting for the unfortunate accidents
that punctuate the day and night and all the hours
and minutes within, that help you tell time.

 

Published in The Boatloads (2008)

Published: 24 November 2008
© 2008 Dan Albergotti and Southern Spaces