It wears the familiar but unreadable black type:
What does it preserve?
Two squad cars.
Why do they go with yellow tape?
Why does heat?
Heat does it every time,
though this year we add to it: football,
emotional fans after noon games, and beer.
What are those dark specks?
They stumble disoriented past the laundromat,
the travel agency and the former art gallery,
getting redder along the way, and,
at times cling to and puddle at doorposts.
How do I get around the tape and the snarled cars? —
The nearest cop isn’t directing me.
I stare inside the rectangular forbidden zone, keeping just clear.
He seems to notice the uncontainable question mark in my eyes.
He points down and says,
“watch” . . . but must smooth his snagged voice to further say
. . . “watch the . . . blood.”
He didn’t want to call it what it is.
He hadn’t finished absorbing — no hiding —
his sorrow that this indeed happens on days that start out perfectly: where
the sun behind clouds peaks out here and there to flirt with the wind,
which firmly but warmly caresses all exposed skin . . .
No he wasn’t ready for sentences of certainty, or
hard vocabulary that reminds him his job is to rescue
Or at worst, finish off wounded animals . . . All
these undiscussable with the wife, lest
sandlike irritants grow iridescent and smooth
inside her shell till she cracks without explanation,
and can no longer ward off mortal fear.
I skip the unexpected blotch on the blacktop.
It’s so wide, so red.
Yes, officer, the stream of life is a precious easily squandered thing,
I will be careful. Thank you. Goodbye.