Willingham’s on the by-pass
was the place they always took
dead cars. If a teenager caught
a deer on the hood late at night
or a mother coming from the grocery
rode the Hartford Highway curve
too fast, the ride ended here.
Locals came by the little store
on the fringes of town
to buy a glass bottle of coke
and some peanuts or maybe
a pack of camels, because they felt
like they ought to buy something
to make it look like they stopped
for a real reason. Menfolk
stood side by side maybe smoking
talked up death in low bass tones
avoided looking at the wreckage.
Women and children met
it head on, talked with exclamation
points, speculated on impact.
Just above the site under lights
on tall black poles local spirits
gathered bathed in orange wash
gazed down knowing a few
pilgrims would join them soon.
Steady stream of people
tributary swelled with loss
each small group
each taking up
where the other left off
ready to run
a turn at the wheel.
This poem will appear with a selection of KayDay’s
other poems in the anthology Links to be published
by PoetWorks Press in late spring, 1999.