A Fatal Car Crash Before The Ambulance Arrived, Candles, English, Fire, L’inconnue De La Seine

A Fatal Car Crash before the Ambulance Arrived

I saw you sitting in your car
after it happened

I could only see a tiny bit of your body
through the shattered window,
prostrate and open like a dissected frog
in the hands of some clumsy child,
all pressed up
– so intimate, so sensuous –
against the concave windshield
and the scrunchied hood

The wires
coated with the reddest of plastic
stretched between pieces of the metal, opened and
crinkled like a used tissue,
appearing like tendons and bloody flesh –
man and machine
in a botched surgery by the concrete scalpel
of the road block


I was taking a taxi downtown
(from some late-night night-life
some important place-to-be
or thing-to-do
with people I knew –
something forgettable)
when we drove past a scattered
constellation of candles
on the stairs of some large and stately building.

I don’t know why they were there.
I couldn’t guess what event they mourned,
as they casually flicked the night
haloed in yellowing spheres.

They simply sat there
on the steps,
slowly burning at the crumpled piece of night around them
converting it to ash.


English is an ugly language.
There are
too many noises, too much sound
at our fingertips for use.
The same language with sounds halcyon and scintillating
rings unctuous and repugnant at other times.
This is because English
leeched off of other tongues,
sucking them dry and devouring their noises,
eating them all up like some hunger Barbarian
in the wooden mess hall,
bent over a plate of meat and bread.
So many different little groups
are contained in our language,
crowding blasts of euphonious ebullience and cacophonous discrepancies-
and there are so many words that no one seems to notice,
that no one understands are just as important as those bigger ones
but instead go ignored
and eventually die,
lost – to new creations
some ugly and repulsive
but some pure and singing.
This is no tragedy;
we are only now growing rich in sound,
displacing old, dead Europe with our own,
purely American tongues.


It’s post-flame;
and the fire that lapped and bit and licked at skin
is dead.
It rots beneath reddened and cracked skin –
bloating with viscous fluid –
exploding outward, leaving the tattered remains
of a white flag knit with dead skin cells
waving over a sulken, bloodied battlefield.

L’Inconnue de la Seine

I burned deep beneath the cloth water
desperate for her touch – for her body
to be warm again, ablaze with fresh flame
and the liquid pulse and thrum
of a beating and rhythmic aorta.
Her smile sleeps on shut lips,
her eyes closed in quiet love
and a silent nod towards her burial.
But she is poisoned
with the dirty waters of Paris
into every crevice of her body,
filling her,
coating her in plaster
and casting her in stone.
She is cold,
and wet,
and frozen by the deep heart
of the City of Light.

Michael Landes, Age 15, Grade 10, The Dalton School, Silver Key

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