POEM: intersections

intersections

1.
this morning I rode my bike
through the intersection of
49th Street and 7th Ave in Brooklyn
remembered last summer
stopped at that same corner
waiting to make a left
meathead in a muscle car
whips out around a turning truck
flies toward me going 50 in a 30
I’m trapped in the amber moment
watching the grill of his car
make its appointment
with the front wheel of my bike
and then, inevitably, with my
bones and muscles and nerves
and skin and blood
but it turns out the meathead
is a skillful idiot
taps his brakes just enough
to swerve at the last second
leaving me shaking in the intersection
as close as I’ve ever come to death

2.
summer 2001, Rochester, New York
I’m in the car giving my grandparents
a tour of our new neighborhood
a mother and her young daughter
are biking through an intersection
when a truck speeds past
knocks the little one into the air
she crunches onto the pavement
I’m dialing 911 as I run
I tell her shocked mother
the ambulance is on the way
ask what else I can do
she gives me her house keys
asks me to get her young son
from their house up the block
I bring him back, his hand in mine
the ambulance has arrived
my grandparents and I drive away
years later I invite a friend
to write about a cycling experience
for my new website
she writes about the time in 2001
when her daughter was struck by a car
while riding through an intersection
turns out my friend is that woman
from all those years ago
neither of us had realized it
everyone is okay
and we all still ride bikes

29 March 2012
Brooklyn NY

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The incidents in question:

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