One minute I’m meandering down
a country road on a magnificent fall day,
lost in thought, radio playing,
and the next minute I feel my wheels
on the loose gravel of the shoulder,
there’s a deafening bang and I’m
climbing out of what’s left of my car.
The cop who came to investigate
was pretty sure I’d been speeding
but settled for lecturing me about how lucky
I was to walk away from such a crash,
that I’d be dead if my car had hit the tree
just six inches further to the left.
Anyone could see that what he said was true,
but it also struck me as I stood there
watching his car flash red and blue
that it was equally true the accident
would not have happened at all
if a raging storm some sixty years ago
hadn’t blown an acorn six inches closer
to the road than where it would’ve landed
on a day as sunny and calm as the one
we were in. It was a point I thought deserved
serious exploration—though perhaps
not just then, I decided, with a hundred birds
singing their tiny hearts out overhead
and the sky raining down yellow leaves,
and definitely not with the cop.
“Six Inches” by Jeff Coomer from A Potentially Quite Remarkable Thursday. © Last Leaf Press, 2015.
From the Writer’s Almanac https://writersalmanac.org/page/2/