Burnt Rubber

Tor Strand

The sky drips like penicillin.
And the bike tire slips off the sidewalk,
slips out of gear

makes a world
out of seconds and six inches. The man falls
on the black tar highway. Gravel screams—
head, then body.
He lies there,

like the deer do.

“Piece of shit,”
he says when he comes to.

“Knocked myself out a second.”

Man of sharp bone,
ribbons of muscle and tattoos,
“Finally found someone who can knock
me out. Me!”
He does’t want us, 9-1-1, our milky words
or forced gestures, our faces
fogged mirrors unable to find his,
unable to feel the gravel dyed red across
his forehead.
“Are you okay?” I’m a false note,
I smell like shining seas and purchases.
He picks up his bag of cans
and goes, everyone goes, away.
“I have friends,” he says, “my friends
will take a look. My friends are this way.”