A GOOD LOOK AT THE ACCIDENT

I don't need light to begin. Everyone has their own way to go
back in time -- before anyone knew who shot JR, before Russia lost
the hockey game, before Brooke Shields whispered that nothing came
between her and her Calvins -- me, too, but only under the condition
that everything I know today comes with me: I would be the only one
afraid of Afghanistan; I would spend all afternoon in Battery Park
reading great books, preparing for sorrow; I would be the loneliest man

in New York. There is a radio station that will give you the world
if you give them twenty-two minutes. I had five, enough
to hear about a plague in the western United States, the Mormon
cricket, turning Utah roads blood red, and about the thousand
Iranians who in the name of reform took to the streets of Tehran
for the fifth night in a row. On my road -- and I couldn't tell you
how many times I've driven down it -- the reception grows weak
the further you drive from the city, and you can usually see
a cop near the Thorndale exit, looking for any reason to give
a ticket. Here's a theory: at a certain speed, a person can break

through the time-space continuum; another theory banks on the belief
that barbiturates do the same thing. There's a popular book
where the speaker relied on a telephone operator to connect him
with the past. I tried them all, though none worked as well
as the afternoon everyone slowed to a crawl on Route 80 to take
a good look at the accident. I saw everything: the crush
in eighth grade for a girl who adored Lennon, the collection
of cows on Margaret's shelf and the portrait of Sinatra
above Elizabeth's bed, the dirty cups and unmailed letters
on the kitchen counter, my grandmother when she could still
walk, the Pennsylvania crickets who talked at dusk
about the cool blue light on the neighbor's front porch.  


Frank Matagrano
The Adirondack Review
FRANK MATAGRANO, born in New York, has appeared in ACM (Another Chicago Magazine), Northwest Review and Exquisite Corpse, among others. His first full-length collection of poetry, I Can Only Go as Fast as the Guy in Front of Me, is scheduled for publication by Black Lawrence Press in the Spring of 2005.