Yesterday, freight trains came through town on both my walks. On the way into town, I saw the marvelous graffiti that gave me this small poem that started as a haiku, expanded into a double haiku (not really a thing), was briefly a reverse haibun (also not a thing) in the bramble, and eventually became two stanzas that fit on a chalkboard.
Graffiti on its box cars
gives me the finger
over and over.
I smile in the sun,
admiring the patient art
of angry artists.
The train was stopped now, all crossing bars down. I could see that no emergency vehicles would be able to get through until the bars went up. The police station, blocks away, is on the other side of the tracks. Et cetera. Drivers continued to make bad choices, especially when the crossing bars went up, and they surged and turned into the path of police cars to get where they wanted to go, but finally help reached the woman, and she walked into the ambulance with two fellows helping. My friend gave a witness statement, and I chatted with a young man with a bike, who had come to work in the building she'd just hit. He had a bandage on his head from an accident that morning--bike, car--and seemed a bit befuddled, repeating his story with exact words to everyone who came near.
Walking away, I could see how easily we could have been in the driver's path. There were two white turn arrows painted on the street. One pointed to the sidewalk a few feet from where we stood, and one pointed to the building where she had crashed. These are advance warning arrows, but it was as if she had followed the second one exactly. Her car took the arrow's path, not the street. How is she doing now, that young woman? What a horrible day for her, on what a beautiful day.
I went home and collected yard signs for candidates (to return or recycle) and raked the side yard of tulip poplar leaves and sat in the back yard with the squirrels and read a book and drafted more poems and said hello to a tiny dog that had been running around the neighborhood and eventually into my back yard (where the gate is stuck open), explaining some past incidences of poop. And now I know the identity of the dog's people...the back yard neighbors down the way who curse a lot. Maybe they'll turn up in a poem someday.