Remember father’s truck groaning 
uphill that day the clutch failed and he 
leaped out of the cab as his ten-wheeler 
went barreling backwards into someone’s 
two-car garage? He stood there sweating,  
a survivor grinning.  

                  I’m not smiling on this damn hill,
someone’s wheel rolling up my chest—

the neighborhood quiet,
not a stop sign in sight—
crows making a gargle sound
in the catalpa, eyeing the flattened 
squirrel opposite Murphy’s 
                  in the middle of the road,
half-huffing, half-dreaming,
a roadway humming beneath my ribs,

I’m thinking of the first morning 
his leg went numb, how he dragged      
himself to the toilet—the 1960 pokerino 
vase from his girlfriend in Atlantic City 
knocked over. 

I don’t know if I want to sit 
on this rock with a nitro dissolving 
under my tongue, my head expanding,
or get up and go dizzy to the next peak.
John Allman | Mudlark No. 37
Contents | The Eyes of Others