How Alice became a finite curve


She was only two hours from home when the snow

began to blow out of the mountains.
Alice turned the radio louder and watched for the mileposts
so she could calculate the time of her arrival. Looking down
at the odometer for just a moment, she paused at two levels:
her eyes no longer on the road,
her hand no more than resting on the wheel.

This was the moment that physics replaced volition.

The road curved up and to the left. The car,
a body in motion tending to remain in motion,
skidded across the angle suggested by the tires, dropped down
into a culvert, met a tree, and then the sudden, equal
and opposite reaction took the car by shock
and physics quarreled with anatomy.

The arc that carried her away from this existence still endures

on some Pythagorean plane. If you have that kind of eyes
you can see it still, twenty miles due east of Clarion,
a pale blue, glowing line suspended in the air
curving between the snowy highway
and the edge of the unflinching woods.


Spillway, 8 (Fall-Winter 1998): 30.

© 1998 by K.J.H. Berland

Return to Kevin Berland's poetry page.