Almost a Witness

14 May 2017 life

There has been an accident,
ahead on the highway,
which, for me,
is simply a delay.

Here in my car,
for two hours now,
my discomfort grows -
I am tired and hungry,
and I need to pee.

But what, I wonder,
happened up ahead?

Are all these emergency vehicles,
sirens Dopplering past,
lights blinking in the near distance,
tending to the victims
of something much worse
than my own inconvenience?

What drama
interrupted my peaceful ride,
but interrupted the lives
of people I will never know
in ways beyond
what I can imagine?

Finally, I am released
from my impatience,
as I pass a tableau
of mangled metal,
the scattered carcasses of cars,
the occupants (if they still live)
long taken from the scene.

How would I feel
if I lingered here,
slowed down
by morbid curiosity,
contemplating the fates
of these people
I don’t see?

How strange,
to brush by the edge of this,
only dimly aware
of the horror of it.

How blasé we are,
sailing through our lives,
mostly blind to all the little tragedies
and personal disasters around us,
until they are thrust
directly in front of us,
and we are forced to look.