Acc(i)dents (Do)n’t Happen
Hand over their snapshots, I’ll make
them somersault through their summers
back into my childhood kiddy pool
I’ll see them reanimate into an alternate
timeline where accidents don’t happen
How will our future generations
reconcile us with this moment
presented to them in a poem: his chest
caved in, fingers dismembered eight
feet below him in the deep, her dive
like a cat thrown from a high window:
right-angled legs stiff with cramps
fists creepy crawly obtuse. Whose water
pistol was that? Did you bounce your baby
sister’s head off the backboard? Was it
an accident? He braces for the impact of skin
with concrete water: the murderous thunderclap
chides us inside. Maybe I hyperextended
his back too far. I may have splayed
her arms too wide at play time. Chlorine
spilled from their throats onto my sleeves
and burned my skin. The board broke
before I could fall up the final steps
Maybe I had a hand in this: brace
for impact—Maybe I wanted
it to break like that.
Sean West holds a BFA in Creative and Professional Writing. In 2019, he was shortlisted for the Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize. His work has been published in StylusLit, Stilts Journal, and Baby Teeth Journal, among others. He lives and works in Brisbane. Find more of him at www.callmemariah.com.
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