Summer job at eighteen
building roads for Ramsay and Bird
hauling hot blacktop to the spreaders

Driving with broken wipers
rainy afternoon, newly oiled approach
wheels slide and cramp into gravel
and then the big blue truck
leaping into the air

A quick, high flip
landing upside down – roof crushing the cab
then bouncing onto the wheels again

Within the truck, and I, time moves slow
as in the flow of unthinking rhythm
I raise my forearm to the roof

And, as it seems, the slow collapse
without impact or jarring of any kind
brings me, ever so slowly, flat against the seat

Crawling out I observe
the roof wrapped round the steering wheel
and crushed pancake flat down to the dash

I see a small safe area
where my cushioned movement placed me

I feel a mystic fearlessness, a change in me

That night I sit with the rest of the crew
older tougher truck driving men

We don’t talk about magic, or beauty
or God or the plastic possibilities of time
of the cosmic wonder of what has happened

We talk of luck and other wrecks
and booze and broads and baseball
and other trucker talk and drink a lot of beer

They getting up – me coming down