Who Were You?


Luci Tapahonso

who were you that night
after all the beer you drank that long winter day
who were you?
angry at nothing and everyone
you drove too fast for the winding canal road
swerving to the very edge
where darkened weeds shivered in your rage
i followed you
my pleading a hardened ache
you took the night in shreds
white clouds of breath hung in between screams
the terror of a sudden billow of dust
not into the ditch     no
but the pickup spun and stopped crosswise
on the road     fading yellow light spilling out
dust and brakes causing dogs
to bark with a hoarse urgency
frozen mud glistening
crumbling as you stumbled
through cold, stinging bushes
and how did you fall
did you slip on a transparent beer bottle?
    (They catch the sharp light of the moon
    and at a certain angle, even the stars)
or did you slip on a rock
    flat and round
    slick with winter frost?
who were you that night?
who were you that night dying in angry drunkenness?
hard, winter stars
motionless in
the crisp dark night
the moon,     the white moon

From A Breeze Swept Through by Luci Tapahonso, West End Press.
© 1987 Luci Tapahonso

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