The 2River View 20.2 (Winter 2016)

Scott H. Urban

Black Ice

So God decides
He’s going to pull the rug out from under you.

Two tons of steel
slide like a puck across a rink.

You thought you knew that curve
as well as the scoop of your wife’s back.

You’d think there
would be screams, explosions,

but it plays like
a silent movie with one sharp gasp.

Lesser angels of negligent
friction propel you up the frosty lawn.

The grille kisses
the ceramic hem of the skirt

of the girl in the front yard,
one finger held to her lips, always saying ssshh….

Earl’s January 1st

When he wakes up
it’s still morning,
but only because
it lacks two minutes of noon.

It feels like someone’s
wadded up a dry rag and
stuffed it in his mouth.
Damn, he thinks, that’s my tongue.

He’s not in his truck.
He’s in someone’s sedan.
His breath and the night’s chill
have turned the interior into an icebox.

He hangs on to the steering wheel
as if it were a life-preserver.
He pulls himself upright
and what’s in his stomach
threatens to spill back over his teeth.

He gets out of the car,
an old Celica he doesn’t recognize.
He’s off the side of route 627.
The bumper is kissing a tree trunk.
But I didn’t wreck, didn’t wreck.

Shee-yit, I’ll never mix booze
And those pills again.
It’s not bad, as resolutions go,
but, like most others,
it won’t last the day.

Geese fly overhead,
their vee pointing south.
Their rude honks make his head throb.
Stupid Earl, they seem to say,
asshole Earl.

He wishes he could lay hands
on his shotgun.

Scott H. Urban lives and writes in southeastern Ohio, where he works in youth rehabilitation. His most recent poetry collection is God's Will (Mad Rush Press) and his latest anthology appearance is in Every River on Earth (Ohio University Press). contact

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