the accident




because he wanted to show her how the streets were

filled with men riding bicycles each with a white rose in his teeth

he opened the city that was in his hands


because he wanted her to find him in such a place

he left her


and when she became frightened by the bicycles

and the men with roses in their teeth

she stepped out of his hand

but the strings that bound her to him

had become tangled amongst the spokes of every bicycle in the city

so that her leaving precipitated the spilling of bicycles

and the breaking of bones and the loss of teeth


and because nothing on the streets could move on its own

and every wheel had stopped spinning

the city in his hands wept like an empty balcony

watching the litter of roses being washed into the sewers.





from The House of Misfortune  Mike Schertzer, 1994