for Shawn Cox
Before she ran into the road
and you arrived where she stood
is the place you cannot get back to,
no matter how often you drive
along the road,
stop again before the spot.
Before she fell into deep black asphalt
and you fell into the line of her life;
before she abandoned the ditch
of flitting tadpoles,
and the day dislodged you from your blessings;
before then is what you can’t get back to.
In the after, safety is luck
and the movements of the whirlpool
where cold fingers drag you.
Now darkness gleams, even in the sun,
and every crease in your face
lets night in.
Every hole in the fence post,
dead tree in the ditch,
black cricket in grass.
The sudden blur of her body
a divide between dark and day;
your heart cries for the horizon,
and the black road threatens you with secrets,
a small girl running, unexpected,
into the deepest place.