Bio Note: I live in San Diego with my spouse and sons, and I enjoy beaches, books, board games, brownies, and alliteration. I'm the founding editor-in-chief of Whale Road Review and a professor of writing at Point Loma Nazarene University. My book Tasty Other won the 2016 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, and my fifth chapbook, 28,065 Nights, is newly available from River Glass Books.
By the time I thought to call you that morning, you were gone. We wouldn’t know until the phone rang an hour later, an old friend’s voice, “There was an accident…” Now I rewind memory and call you an hour earlier than I thought to call. Would good morning be enough delay? If you told me you were leaving and would call me later, would our brief I love you and goodbye make the other driver miss you by a minute? Sometimes I rewind further: the phone call in spring when we decided not to visit that summer. We needed to rest; you needed to meet deadlines. You would come to us in the fall. When I rewind my memory, I insist that we visit in summer. We rest at your house. We cook while you work. We drive you around, keep you safe, at least for one week. You could still come to us in the fall.
A man in a stolen truck drives down State Line, pants down, phone out, meth in his blood and in a bag on the seat beside him. A green light yields to yellow, then red. A red light flips to green. A black car crawls out into the intersection toward the fresh green light. The white truck tackles the car across diagonally and leaves it on the lawn, nestled between two trees. The man and woman in the car appear to be asleep. The man in the truck has a broken arm and appears to be alive.
I Was Inside Your Lungs
The doctor invited me to stay. Tunnels led to more tunnels, looked like the inside of noses and throats. The doctor vacuumed a little liquid while he gave the tour: left, right, do you know how to tell which side is which? Some tunnels had dark red walls, bruises from recent collapse. The tunnels were empty. The lungs were hungry. Tunnels led to more tunnels, led to more tunnels, led to more tunnels, led to no answer. We came back up for air. I couldn’t wait to tell you what I’d seen. You didn’t wake again.
©2021 Katie Manning
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell her or him. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is what builds the community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -JL