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Hit and Run

The girl was crossing the street, birthday cake in hand.

The bus against the curb blocked traffic.

   My daughter dances three nights a week

   with graceful insects—level three, purple leotards.

Last night playing softball in the park, I leaned

against the fence where the girl’s friends left flowers.

You will never be forgotten, the scrawled sign read.

   I was dropping my daughter off at dance that night

   right after the accident. Body parts strewn across the road

   in front of the studio. Even the police looked stricken.

   I swerved around them, kept going. My daughter

   claims she closed her eyes and saw nothing.

At softball, I eyed the frayed flowers, the plaintive sign

streaked by rain. Liquid life goes on, and everyone

is forgotten. I was 2 for 3 and made a nice play

at second. I cannot tell you the final score.

   I cannot tell you who that birthday cake was for,

   splattered amid the gore. The ritual singing of sirens.

The other team had some asshole pitching,

whining about every call. Old guy my age

who should’ve known better than to care: Ball. Strike.

Safe. Out. Who cares? Nobody got hurt—

at our age, isn’t that enough, oh worthy opponent?

   A severed leg in the road. You can still see

   the imperfect yellow circles drawn by police, fading.

Oh, dancing daughter. Watch me make a catch. Watch me

run the bases. Open your eyes, girl.

from Birth MarksFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2013
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in Jim Daniels Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.