by Ann González

She walked into the station,
The girl with her legs mangled a year ago
Wrapped impossibly around the pedals
Folded like an accordion by the weight of the dash
Smashed and broken
When her car slid gracefully across the ice
Headlong into the fire truck.

I watched my son relive the moment,
Holding onto his harness, his partner not even belted in yet,
Just pulling out of the station on a call. The crash and then
Grabbing the sides of his seat,
The truck careening across a field, threatening to roll
This close to a tree, the shock, the screaming,
Running to the car, sliding tools across the icy road.

I know the story by heart,
Have seen the tears roll down my son’s face as he remembers,
As he feels it all again, haunting him, night after night, for weeks.
But you got her out, yes we got her out. Clearly not the point.

Am I going to die? No.
Am I going to lose my legs? We’ll let the doctors see.
I need my hand to roll the dash, I’ll only let go a minute.
You can call me, call me.

So many traumas, so many broken bodies.
Why does this one hurt so? You got her out.
Yes, we got her out. And she’s walking, walking. Yes, she’s walking.
And she found you again, to thank you. She remembered your name.
Yes, she remembered.
And the tears keep coming in little streams down his cheeks.

About the Author: Ann González is a professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies in the Department of Languages and Culture Studies at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. She is originally from North Carolina, but lived for years in Costa Rica. She is the mother of five children including twin sons who are both now firefighter/EMTs. She has written a number of books and articles on Central American literature as part of her academic career, but she began writing poetry last year as a way to relieve the stress of caring for her 91-year old mother with Alzheimer’s.

Read another poem by Ann: The Accident

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