It was an admirable dive, technically haphazard but stylish like good slam verse, and confident despite daunting conditions, including absence-of-pool. The diver launched from his start point at the concrete median was not in diver’s trim. In shapeless black jacket, pants and boots he crafted a smooth arc of surprising fluency (and at the top of this architectural wonder he was with his body describing—what is it, the apogee?—he caught my eye with a look so direct it lashed me to the rock of my inadequacy like judgment day) but failed against another force: the motive, tangential, irrelevant but irresistible momentum of my not theoretical car. He had dived, not stumbled, and my car had hit him and I had, what?—observed? Because, really, what truth is served by saying I hit him? We took paths predetermined to collide us, is all. The inevitable occurred. Frankly, he hit my car. It’s not-funny funny. You spend your life gaming the language and one day it dawns—all right, it hits you—your game is not the essential game. Those celebratory toasts get classified as intoxicants. Juvenile follies cluster to form a constellation cops call Priors. The smallest sketch is enough to show the intersection of our fates, but the district attorney is using bigger paper. Her diagram extends in all directions to incorporate the neighborhoods of my youth, then pokes into the future to warn of consequences should I go undetained. She’s called my family as witnesses, leaving me no-one. I asked about character witnesses, but my lawyer says no, nobody’s witnessed any. Of course I don’t blame the diver; I had the accelerator, I had the brakes. I failed to undo the future. But I ask you, didn’t destiny make two victims when it suicided us both?

Copyright © January 4, 2007 David Hodges