Monday, January 12, 2009

red velvet

for a week, i drove
past the armadillo's armored body,
back & forth,
to and from
the obedient girl i was imitating,
the diamonds on my left hand.
every time i passed his still form,
i thought
about the red velvet cakes they'd make
for the grooms' cakes at weddings,
grey frosting caked
into the armor of an armadillo.
the idea
was for the cake to resemble
the roadkill.

this road armadillo resembled
the cake at first, lying
on the center yellow lines
as if sleeping off
a night of rooting. i skirted him carefully.
when he split open
in two days, his red velvet insides
peeking at my headlights,
i rubbernecked past
the hit & run, staring into his center.

three more days transformed him
into a lump, small pieces flung
across the highway
and as he worked into a smear, i swerved
to avoid him
and thought about my own wedding:
when i saw my fiance's roadkill cake
would i disappear as swiftly
as my dead friend on the road?
my young stomach churned on it.

on the seventh day, as i drove
after canceling my marriage, i
let my gaze slip to my bare left hand,
my own empty body, and i hit
the armadillo, tires thumping over
the greasy lump that had once been
a grey thing, and then pink, and later brown
and as i struck him
i imagined the heap of flesh against the wheels,
my mind saying,
"ugh. guts
on my tires."
but when i looked
the thing had left no mark
of its body.

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