muttering shadows

a few key-turns
and a mash of the rubber pedal
she started right up, eager–
front wheels spinning with zealous fervor
spinning freely, in the black-morning air
going nowhere
after a while, I realized
the car was perched
up on a bent lamppost
the windshield, smashed on the driver’s side
bloody
the crash, right next to a boarding house
where two whispering-hippies
a man, and a woman
took me inside, as I staggered
guiding me to a small room
at the front of the house
a gruff shadow at the top of the stairs
stood there, with one arm extended
balancing against the wallpapered wall
it was the color of poverty’s smoky filth
the tarnish no one can wash away
the shadow asked what was going on
down there
the man told the shadow
it was nothing, to go back to bed
and then they shuffled me away
the shadow muttered
and the man muttered
in the small room
just a double bed and a small table
they asked for my phone number
and if anyone could come to get me
I slurred my reply
and the man wrote down the numbers
in pencil
his hands shaking
but his soul filled
with a sudden sense
of worth
the woman dialed
in the darkness
on an old black phone
the kind with a rotary dial
whispering again
telling my fiancée to come
quickly
and that I was hurt
the car had to be left behind
perched on the lamppost
going nowhere
strange, the things that stay with us
the bits of memory, faded colors
stitched together, like a quilt
stuffed, bulging with the mystery
of missing details, of lost moments
and of things, unspoken
pushing at the fraying seams
musty with time’s steady perspiration
tho never giving way
when the police came
to my apartment
I was passed out
at the door
my fiancée told them
that she had been the one
driving the car, left behind
perched up on the bent lamppost
they didn’t believe her
she wasn’t bleeding
but I didn’t go to jail, that night
just to the hospital
where they stitched my mysteries
and lost moments
and those things, unspoken
back beneath the skin
two weeks later
I married her
and tho it doesn’t seem
enough–
nor– have I always been fair
she looked beautiful
on that summer-sunshine day
dressed in white
with tall curls
and small, white flowers
in her hair

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