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"One Dead on Moravia Road" by Matt Hohner

The news got it wrong. It wasn't four cars

involved, but one, shredded so completely

it looked like four, spread like a junkyard on

the Moravia Road overpass above the Harbor

Tunnel Throughway. What the news omitted

for the poet to report was how a human being

approached the accident from the express toll

lanes, reveling in a convenience that felt built

for him that night, zero traffic at rush hour, no

speed traps, clear December Monday evening's

last light fading behind earth’s western curve,

seeing first one, then more sets of red-blue and

yellow-red lights flashing, becoming a flotilla

of police and rescue vehicles glittering like a

galaxy, stretching across the bridge as the mile

shrank between his moment of reverie and a

cop directing a procession of cars past a body

on the frozen pavement covered by a lumped,

white ambulance blanket, a small drift of snow

beside red metal, plastic, and bent wheel smeared

and coagulated like a jagged scab across jersey

wall, shoulder, and two lanes, while slumped

medics stood, waiting for a coroner to collect

this ruin of a life next to a parked fire truck.

What the news got right was one dead. Moving

through the scene, the poet noticed the solemn

calm of traffic squeezed off two highways

into one lane on a city parkway, blaring horns

hushed by thoughts of the person on the bridge

under that blanket, their family still a phone call

away from devastation, the insistent splendor

of the universe just then poking through the

darkness, one lonely, cold, distant star at a time.

An editor with Loch Raven Review, Matt Hohner (MFA, Naropa University) has published two collections: At the Edge of a Thousand Years, winner of the 2023 Jacar Press Poetry Book Contest (April 2024), and Thresholds and Other Poems (Apprentice House 2018). He has held two residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, with one forthcoming at Anam Cara in Ireland. His publications include Prairie Fire, Rattle: Poets Respond, Takahē, New Contrast, Narrative Magazine, Poetry Ireland, Prairie Schooner, The Baltimore Review, and elsewhere.

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