If you do not turn left a very stupid consequence can happen at the end of a 1.2 mile stretch of straight road.
Two and a quarter tons moving forward into a November night.
An untried conclusion staked out the way a field goal kicker sees between the uprights before taking the kick with two seconds left.
Accelerator pressed so hard you hope your feet do not go Flintstone,
or the engine does not throw a rod.
You wonder about the safety record of Volvos as
a long scream is breathed out during the last quarter mile.
Hands off the wheel at the last possible moment.
The final surge of adrenaline.
A brief flight over a ditch.
Plastic and metal, Swedish steel, shred flimsy chain link
before slamming into bark and maple bordering a cemetery.
The car too old for airbags,
only the headlights remain on -
shining through a ghostly mix of steam and smoke,
as multicolored fluids leak out from torn hoses and broken reservoirs
Passwords are left in prominent place in a notebook at home.
Sealed letters in the back seat.
God, you hope the car does not explode.
An ID left in a conspicuous place.
Seat belt left unbuckled.
Final songs blasted out of unaware speakers.
How fucked up is a life for it to reach this point.
How broke do you have to be.
How broken is a marriage that you want to break your body,
make it irreparable.
How much do you have to hate your job to manufacture long distance grief?
Leave your family and friends to pick up the pieces of your mess from afar.
None of them capable of understanding any of the failed puzzle you kept silent.
You watch the tachometer rise and fall with the car still in park.
You wait for your hands to stop shaking avoiding touching the wheel
before turning away.
The best act of cowardice complete, letters are ticker tape in the Scioto.
A few minutes later you pull into a driveway of debt and consequences
and start a fight in the kitchen about an affair that has not even happened yet -
but free to continue being human, making mistakes.
No, not that one