Alternate Ending Where the Car Flips
Trigger Warning: Miscarriage
Like a two-sided coin or loaded dice, you wait
for the crunch, final rouge curtain
suspended in non-gravity— this is the alternate ending,
off-broadway show where the audience doesn’t
clap, only lingers, unsettled, a wet cough or creak
of armrest, nudging: was that it?
Was it one of those shows? The director
of the car teeters over the ditch, pitchy
pop tunes cut in and out over the high-whine
of the backseat dog floating sideways in its crate.
It sounds like the song is over; it sounds like
the apocalypse. You might end
in flame, you think, thank God
it’s raining. This slick mud dangling you
off the earth’s end, as a cat would twirl the tail
of its catch, saliva dripping on the body
of the car and you can’t remember your life
story like they said you would. Can’t
recall your father, his wilted heart, holding your thumb
before surgery, your sister, her baby
bobbing red in the toilet, your first love’s blurry
face washed out by the rain breaking through
the windshield. You ward off these tailgaters,
nudging you back to them.
There’s supposed to be resolution,
each good play: an outcome, an outro, an encore,
a side door to slip through once all’s said and done.
The road is unpaved, the script shredded up
by the dog retching fear and endings
in the backseat. Is this it? You wonder
if you are the actor, the audience, the prop forgotten
on stage, the writer, the scene-stealer, or simply
the curtain, its shadow, looming near the floor.