After the Accident

This poem is full of lovely images because they are painted specifically and succinctly. The poem builds as it moves from one thing to the next, the pay off as it concludes hits the heart. Don’t think the narrator doesn’t have choices, if you’ve missed her power take another look at the poem.

After the Accident                                                         Sue Ellen Thompson

the old rose-colored Buick turns in

past the rows of slush-covered cars

with webbed windshields and wrinkled doors.

My father steps out, unfolding himself

on the ice-slick asphalt with an old bird’s grace

and stands, hands at the back of his waist,

leaning against the sky. My mother,

buoyed along by her puffed blue coat,

is all scurry and search as she hurries

toward me through the glass door marked

“Service,” her arms already rising

from her sides. Swept up into

the car’s small warmth, I let myself

be taken to lunch, I let them order for me—

a cheeseburger in the golden arms

of mounded onion rings, a cookie the size

of my own spread palm

weighted with chocolate. I eat

and I eat, as if I’d been trapped

in that snow choked ravine for days,

as if food were love and I could absorb it,

turning it into flesh the way

they turned their love into me.

But seeing all that is left—a thinnish woman

in her forties without a car, without

even a purse, they must think

it is not enough. So they feed me and I

eat, and all that keeps me from an infant’s sleep

is who will carry me home when they are gone?

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