by John Roth

Visibility on the highway was nonexistent
that day, the slanted headlights couldn’t cut
through the torrential downpour and raindrops
splattered on the hood like a constant barrage
of paintballs. The slick tires caught something
in the road, and momentum slingshotted a small
rock, roughly the size of a pea, straight through
the windshield, kicking up some loose metal scraps
and other debris. In that moment, the brake
pads turned into butter, no stopping power,
as we swerved right into an irrigation ditch. Fine
spider web cracks spread through paneled glass,
the car had crumpled up like a ball of paper.
With the front airbag deployed, sagging over
the steering wheel like a shriveled balloon,
talcum powder burned fresh in our throats,
as the rubber-edged wiper blades continued
to scratch at the chipped window. The rain
seemed to mourn with us in that hour of desperate
need; water streaking sideways like a surge
of windswept tears.

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