The wooden flute exhumes the eight
year old from my left side, whole and still
stuck before the headlights.
The Toyota sent her
into the other vein of traffic.
Lovers would tell me
from left foot up to shoulder down
I smell of oranges.
Gripping the Sunkist Granny peeled,
she bit into twice before it was her body
tossed into the morning, below the lid
of the streetlight, it came down.
In this hemisphere, my grown body
has let her cower, packed tight.
The impact shattered my leg.
The liver in frantic repair
seamed itself back together.
The body comes on strong to heal
and I’ve kept myself on the curb
afraid of accidents.
Gone stale, rigid beneath touch,
cautious of a body’s velocity—
I have many front lines—
the company of elsewhere soothes my wheels.
Through hoop earrings the road blurred,
my mother turned the dial, this state line
is a different frequency for usual songs.
Give your body permission to rest,
says the instructor, relax the back of the heart.
I watched the back of her neck rest
and go taut like double-dutch ropes
in anxious girls’ hands.
It’s hard enough to wait
for lights to turn red. I’m seeing
my mother again after a week’s passing.
Her face like brick beside the gurney.
Let it go. This directive leaves me unsure—
what will be useful to me later?
My whole life stutters.
I don’t move down there on my back,
tires sound like flutes, slowing down to take breath.