The truck hit my mother’s car from behind,
forty-five in a twenty-five, collapsing in
the trunk and pushing her forty feet
down 6th street. She had pulled over
to pick up Jeremy from work. He didn’t
even get his seatbelt on. My mom saw
the truck in her rearview and realized
and picked her foot off the brake and
waited. Something in her brain clicked,
flooding in chemicals that let her steer
the car straight forward as the truck bore down,
let her avoid other cars and people.
No one was badly hurt: Jeremy just
a little bruised; my mom’s back
sore for weeks. And with no one to mother,
no one to direct the energy of the crash on to:
my mother went into shock. “It almost
would have been better for me,”
she told me. “If someone had been.”
When you tell me about
the rape, it’s already over. The crisis.
You’ve seen a doctor, a therapist
(all fine), you’ve cut off contact with
your ex-boyfriend (he apologized?).
You’ve told the friends in close physical
proximity, the ones who can hold you
when you need to be held. You have already
stopped blaming yourself. I block
your ex-boyfriend on Facebook
(“You’ve blocked __________.
We’re sorry you had this experience.”)
Then, there’s no action for me to take.
My purpose, not for a plan of action,
but to sit with the story, hold it
close, and listen as it whispers.
Elizabeth Deanna Morris Lakes was born in Harrisburg, PA and has a BA in Creative Writing from Susquehanna University and an MFA from George Mason University. She has appeared or is forthcoming in The Birds We Piled Loosely, SmokeLong Quarterly, cahoodaloodaling, Mom Egg Review, and Whiskey Island. She has a chapbook, Patterning, from Corgi Snorkel Press.