The Brothers on the Trash Truck and My Near Death Experience

Having just been left for good by you--your tongue
flicking over your lips like a thirsty newt, your cheeks plush with screwery--
having been left so, I walked into the backing-up path of a trash truck.

Its ding-reverse bell must have been defunct.
It was the side-rider's YO! that halted it.
Don't hurt her baby, don't hurt her! the side-rider called in a franticky chant.

The driver leapt out.
MISS, MISS! cried the side-rider, MISS! 
You were nowhere in sight. There I lay in my neighbor's hedge,

outlandishly unhurt. I looked up. The driver had
green eyes, a tall tan black man with those farfetched
feline eyes, like say maybe

one of his foremothers volunteered for a shot at the Nordic gene pool,
or, on the other hand, consider that one etymology of motherfucker 
cites masters raping female slaves, the children forced to watch. . .

but is this my business how the man got green eyes?
I'm glad I had this thought because I don't know what to do with it.
Forgive me, I said. My boyfriend dumped me, I wasn't looking . . .

We were shook--me, driver, side-rider
by the divine simplicity of the Near Miss.
So they took me home. The brothers escorted me back--

two blocks cruising high in the cab
like the Empress of Metropolis.
Don't even worry 'bout it, the driver said.

If he don't come back, go on and catch you a bigger fish.
And the side-rider meanwhile balletically leapt
and landed and kept on leaping,

on and off the rolling truck, heaving those garbage bins
light as confetti, light as burned billet-doux,
the sweet spent tickets to my heart.

:: Belle Waring, in Green Mountains Review 8:2 (1995)

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