Contract on America
by Lenny Krosinsky
(Click image for larger view)
By Billy Reynolds
When she was fifteen, my sister broke her neck.
She was gone all night, out of the juvie
only a few days before, up on Monte Sano
watching the sun come up with some boy.
She was hugging herself, quiet, wounded
from god knows what and dragging on her last cigarette.
She was plain high and loving it, the way
they’d keep talking about climbing the WAFF tower
together as plane lights disappeared through fog
and mountain headed north or south toward Nashville
or Atlanta. Rhea. I don’t think my parents thought
of her as rising like a green shoot from this earth.
Rhea, the spelling borrowed from the middle name
of a fraternity brother of our father’s. Rhea,
who thought sacrifice became her and fed Kronos
stone loaves so that Zeus might live and overthrow
his father who, pawn to some greater god’s game,
overthrew Uranus. And yet from where she tests
the cliff’s edge, from where she will jump, black out,
or slip, Rhea stands to live perfectly upright
another twenty-odd years with her story’s violent luck:
the rock seventeen feet below she will hit face first,
the terrible going on of the first groans
like a prayer sent up from down the road
where the sunrise service has gotten started,
where a phone is surely at, where no one knows
to listen to the blood swallow and spit,
to feel the sun lightly, lightly, rise up her face.