Shit motherfucker you’re murdering me!
I wanted to scream, and did,
but no one was there to hear
nor could they have heard
over the roar of his engine
and the whine of mine,
his 18-wheeler drifting into my VW Rabbit
as he drifted off to sleep,
no warning, no turn signal, no horn
on a rainy and foggy Chicago midnight.
His right front wheels
smashed into my left,
bouncing my car into the overpass guard rail
that had me trapped.
Goddamn motherfucking piece of shit!
I bellowed again and again
as the car twirled and slammed back
into his other wheels,
each one the mouth of a Great White
looking to swallow me whole
or drag me under the behemoth,
tearing off hubcaps and side mirrors
like chunks of silver flesh
too tasty to chew properly,
spinning madly, adding vertigo to terror.
Son of a motherfucking bitch!
I gasped as I hit the guard rail again,
rebounding into the truck wheels once more
and landing behind him in the center lane,
finally stopping at a 45-degree angle,
the radiator already steaming,
the car so totaled I had to crawl
out the back hatch on my hands and knees.
I stood there shaking, lightly whiplashed
but otherwise unhurt
and oh so glad to be alive, car be damned.
That motherfucking bastard of a truck driver
kept going (the cops caught him later)
and I didn’t care one bit
because while the crash was happening
my life had flashed before my eyes
exactly as they say it does,
and it was not a good life,
not even enough to put on a tombstone.
In that instant my spirit
came out of hibernation
wide-eyed and blinking in astonishment.
So began an awakening
that continues to this day,
every morning since then an unbidden gift
from a mysterious stranger whose face
has yet to emerge from the fog
and the never-ending screech
of giant rubber wheels grinding metal.
After years of writing humor for the New Yorker, the Onion and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, among others, Kurt Luchs returned to his first love, poetry, like a wounded animal crawling into its burrow to die. In 2017 Sagging Meniscus Press published his humor collection, It’s Funny Until Someone Loses an Eye (Then It’s Really Funny), which has since become an international non-bestseller. In 2019 his poetry chapbook One of These Things Is Not Like the Other was published by Finishing Line Press, and he won the Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest, proving that dreams can still come true and clerical errors can still happen. His first full-length poetry collection, Falling in the Direction of Up, is out from Sagging Meniscus as of May 2021.