Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Look Back, Come Back

I walk a lot -- for my health, for stress release, and to enjoy good music or a good audiobook. Near my home, in Calumet Township, I must walk on the road near the curb, because we have no sidewalks. I usually walk against traffic, and in the winter must often move to the side, and on occasion climb a snow bank to avoid on-coming traffic. I have had several close calls in the winter months, but none in the spring or summer...until tonight.

Two kids on a off-road four wheeler very nearly ran me down on the highway at about 8:05 this evening. They came from behind me, the engine of their vehicle screaming, torqued to the red-line, and weaving in and out of the traffic lane as the driver struggled to control the machine. At the sound, I looked behind me and dove for the curb as they flashed past me. As I hit the pavement, I saw the passenger turn to look back and then turn away as they screamed over the crest of the hill toward Lake Linden, and out of my sight.

Getting back on my feet, embarrassed at my less-than-fluid fall, I looked about to waive off any help coming my way. There was none. It seemed my break dance on the blacktop went totally unnoticed, except perhaps by the pillion rider on the ORV. As I limped home on a twisted ankle and injured pride, I wondered what went through the mind of the 10-12 year old on the machine and if he felt anything at all about the near tragedy during their wild and undisciplined careen down the highway.

The following flashed through my mind in those seconds, therefore I wrote it as free verse.


Look Back, Come Back

I saw you look back at me.
Just as the concrete rose
To give my butt a gravelly kiss;
And once again remind me,
That gravity's rules rule absolutely -
That it is not the fall that hurts,
But the sudden stop at the end.

I wonder what you saw,
Twisting and dancing,
In and out of the traffic lane,
Astride a four-wheeled wasp -
Its heart screaming and buzzing,
As you flashed past the grey man
Silently pacing the curb.

I saw you turn away,
And wondered, did you see?
Did you see an old man fall,
And hit the pavement's concrete wall?
Did you see anything at all?
I saw you turn away,
As if to say goodbye.

I wonder what you feel...
Does it add to your renown,
To nearly run an old man down?
Is your focus so narrow and small,
That you feel not a thing at all?
I'll not know what you saw or felt -
You did not come back...

Mick McKellar
June 2009

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