Those few final seconds before
crash squeal hiss of metal plates sliding
and the dull thump
that meant the warm wet in my mouth was blood
I caught my own gaze in the mirror I was goddess prophet bat-shit crazy in
those few final seconds
Red ghosts on my white cotton
and the strange angle of my nose
Those desert mirage dreams of a little girl
in a spinning steel coffin laughing so hard
Now I was wretched in my red white blue
Found brakes
sudden stillness
The radio wormed its way into the silence
“Round here we always stand up straight”
My canine tooth broke off at the gum line
I knew all sorts of things laying at the intersection
my face painted with iron and blood
When I felt cool hands
smoothing wrinkles in my eyelids
I knew I hadn’t followed the plan
Because we die alone, right?
Not with company in white vans shouting
I tried to stand up straight
When their palms raised me from my road
strewn with copper vines
crowded with concern
I felt like down feathers lined the neck brace
began again to breathe slow.

Isabel Mader is currently in the process of perfecting her miso soup recipe and becoming a sparrow. This is the first time she has been published since the fifth grade.

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