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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 2, June 2019
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Susan Olding
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Brake

Each time she has to travel to the city, she wakes in a nasty sweat at three a.m. Her husband thinks her panic overblown. Ease up, he says. Enough. Overtaken by a tractor-trailer, she gasps for air. Glimpsing a flashing light, she dives for an imaginary brake. Every trip to the city becomes a contest, but she can’t help herself, she just keeps seeing pile-ups, can’t unsmell burning rubber and spilled gas. Blame her doctor father, trained as a first responder. When she was a kid, they stopped for every accident. Wedged in the backseat, she’d bear witness to overturned Beetles and the buckled husks of trucks. Sirens wailed. Medics hustled stretchers. Once, a fire—the stink of smoke, twisted metal choking the median—and then a crowd of onlookers so vast it seemed the whole town might have come to rubber-neck or lay a wreath. It was hours before her dad came back. His eyes had seen things his mouth couldn’t utter. Couple of kids playing chicken, was what he said.

yellow crocuses
yawn awake to April’s glare
broken before May

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