Laura Kasischke

1961 / Grand Rapids, Michigan

Near misses

The truck that swerved to miss the stroller in which I slept.

My mother turning from the laundry basket just in time to see me open
the third-story window to call to the cat.

In the car, on ice, something spinning and made of history snatched me
back from the guardrail and set me down between two gentle trees.
And that time I thought to look both ways on the one-way street.

And when the doorbell rang, and I didn't answer, and just before I slipped
one night into a drunken dream, I remembered to blow out the candle
burning on the table beside me.

It's a miracle, I tell you, this middle-aged woman scanning the cans on
the grocery store shelf. Hidden in the works of a mysterious clock are
her many deaths, and yet the whole world is piled up before her on a
banquet table again today. The timer, broken. The sunset smeared
across the horizon in the girlish cursive of the ocean, Forever, For You.

And still she can offer only her body as proof:

The way it moves a little slower every day. And the cells, ticking away.
A crow pecking at a sweater. The last hour waiting patiently on a tray
for her somewhere in the future. The spoon slipping quietly into the
beautiful soup.
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