Saturday, November 12, 2011

Roadside Crosses

Those crosses beside the highways and the country roads that mark the spot where a speeding teenager, or a drunken driver, or a driver hit by a drunken driver, or a tired driver, or a distracted driver, or a driver who was simply unlucky flew off the road and, in a variety of tragic, gruesome ways, died; I have observed them at various times over the years. At first there are flowers and balloons, teddy bears, sometimes--sometimes a portrait of the deceased printed on computer paper, scraps of a poem, some words from friends. Over time the flowers wilt and are replaced only on birthdays or anniversaries. The balloons deflate and lay in the long grass like so many latex snakes. The teddy bears are carried away by stray dogs. The pictures tear and blow away, caught in the wires of a nearby fence or in the twigs of bushes. One day the cross itself is gone and there is only grass and sky, road and fence and the muddy ditch beside the pavement.

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