Snowmobile Accident

Being a grownup catches me
by surprise—the unexpected
end, your liquid grave. You

float beneath thin ice,
your machine's motor
slurping water deep

into its parts, gulping
for air like a drunk
begging one last drink.

Your black suit
balloons out, opens like a parachute,
and for one rising moment

you are saved. Saved until
black current sucks fluid
through nylon sleeves,

freezes the silver-toothed
zipper. Your mouth
seeks the ragged hole

smooth skis have cut.
You meet with oceans
of Devil River water. You

sink. Our phone
is a thin fishing line.
Tom says he doesn't think

you went through the ice.
That his machine
skimmed the icy stream

and that your bobbing
headlight was right behind.
But then his watery eyes

lost your beam
and maybe we should call
out the dogs. Dogs can smell

bourbon when mixed with water,
can sniff out a body
like the one bad fish

in a barrel. Your
unborn girl child
swims my salty womb

and she is suddenly
paddling quickly for shore.
She bumps edge to edge,

her boat unsettled as I plan
your funeral. That black pinstripe

is back from the cleaners—
pressed, ready. The barber
will trim your frozen beard

and we will fold your hands
left over right. If the body

is recovered soon
enough, icy waters will
not have bloated your cheeks

and the red tint
of your chilly skin
will take on a cheery

glow, will not reflect
the death I feel, this
slow, steady sinking.


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