That old image of myself as
hero-victim, just a threadbare
pipe dream—guilt motivates me.
Guilt, shame: my father’s eyebrows
raised in surprise from behind his glasses,
his hand rising up to touch my shoulder
but then dropping down away.
My mother’s anguished, knowing look.
The highway I turned
onto the wrong way.
Emaciated, baring track marks
on her wrists, the girl who obsessively
talked to me about medications and
then, years later, died of an overdose.
The accident was the accident.
In the long backseat of an empty car,
I lie with no one else, no driver, rolling.
Daniel Kraines is a PhD candidate at the University of Rochester. He has previously published in Salmagundi, Redivider, Box of Jars, and H.O.W. Journal. He received his MFA from Boston University. In the summertime, he teaches at Skidmore College.