by Thomas Alan Orr
Where the highway bends
toward sunset, before the bridge
and along the river, no lights flash,
no klaxons wail. They sit abandoned,
these chariots of mercy splashed
with blood-colored rust, now slipping
into the silt like a patient going under –
a fifty-nine C-10 Suburban
strewn with empty vials and I-V bags,
a newer Kenworth on its final run
when a tractor-trailer bashed it in.
Crows like mourners gather atop
the hoods as though on coffin lids.
Offer thanks for service rendered,
the gift of succor in distress, just as
the foreign visitor said, amazed,
“In America the ambulance really comes!”
But these will come no more, bereft
of precious human cargo now,
though haven of a different kind,
home to skunks and coons
and river otters leaping scattered tires.
Wild blackberries grow in the grill,
feeding squirrels, mice, and birds.
Life prevails. Two kids salvage
an old chrome horn that only
they can hear for rescues far away.
About the poet: Orr's most recent collection is Tongue to the Anvil: New and Selected Poems (Restoration Press).