Woman dies in rural crash
by Karen Craigo
This morning as mud anchored me
in corn stubble, I held a broken woman
in my viewfinder, autofocus humming
in my hands. I circled her car to show impact,
proximity, the muscled ministrations
of rescuers. Maybe itÕs true our last seconds
happen in slow motion, and time had not resumed
its measured ticking as I lifted my shoes
from the firmament, left, right, then left again.
With the rain, it may be weeks before Joe Potter
plants the wheat seed piled in his outbuilding
and commerce supersedes a townÕs sorrow.
Crop rotation and the seasons ensure that his field
will look different by April, that it will not appear
this way again to anyone but the woman
who found her there, or the volunteer firefighter
who felt the last drumming of her pulse,
or me, apart and silent, a bystander. Tonight
her father will sit down with his newspaper;
he will wear the wonder and sorrow he once saw
on the face of a child as her balloon was stolen
by the wind. He will imagine I felt something less
than sadness as her soul emerged from its casing,
something other than amazement at how life spills
from a body like water from a clay pot. We all
have to die, and that is something we say out loud,
over and over, thinking we believe because proof
is newsprint staining our fingers. When I go,
I want to imagine there is someone, solemn
in a field or silent at home Š someone, rooted
here, whose prayers will follow me upward.