5 p.m./july/the city

red-blue lights
blink on
and off

the mangled motorbike
sputters in defeat
its twisted metal
a cruel sacrifice
to an invincible semi

some young male
caucasian, no previous record
writhes in the dirt
and jagged glass
his black jacket
ridiculous with blood

onlookers and joggers
await their turns
to babble to
tired police
who record the moment
for computer posterity

other vultures
cruise by slowly
eager for glimpse
of death &

in my mirror
I see an urgent ambulance
approach the milling crowd
and wonder if
I’m late
for supper


I have used this social commentary poem to teach the concept of persona as opposed to poet. The poem was first published in the original 1984 edition of Inside Poetry by Richard Davies and Glen Kirkland.

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