or, rather, we see his shoes poking out
from beneath the yellow tarp someone—a police officer—
has hastily thrown over his body. Never never never
have I see such expressive shoes,
their dumb faces gaping at the passing traffic.
My husband says, “Let this be a reminder to us
never to get motorcycles,” and I scoff-scoff until, later,
I try to look up the crash online and see, only, the other crashes
that happened almost simultaneously all over the country,
each with a dead person who, until their body was adequately covered,
caused a woman to weep with their shoes, or limp hands,
the backs of their fragile heads. No life, no, like a stone
among stones they lie. He lay wondering which life would leave him,
as he felt it leaving: the one he feels in his aches
and pains, or the one lived in his mind, or the one that makes
his groin twitch—regardless of the mind’s life—at the sight of,
say, his son’s middle school teacher, or some other cliché of groins?
He asks: Is there a body beyond this body for an untethered soul to live
amongst? A dog, a horse, a rat whose life is more a brotherhood
than it is a life to a man? We see ourselves
in everything, a life like that becoming ours
and—do you see this?—turning like a face
held up to a mirror to show
its different aspects.
Here, the face turns
as the head you cradle
falls from your hands. Look
on it. Look there,
there.
 

Katie Berta
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