The Accident

Posted May 24, 2010, at 8:29 a.m.

The last thing I remember – the slip slide, the tree, an ash,
about eight inches around, and straight trunked
as from a sapling grown in young woods reaching above the canopy.
And then, the crack of pain, the lower arm dangling.
My brain couldn’t comprehend: the pain below the shoulder,
but the motionless hand below the waist.
So I held my hand up and hiked out, another mile to the road,
murmuring the stories we tell ourselves to get down a mountain.

why oh why oh why
I could have stayed at home and finished writing,
but I wanted a hike before the rain.
I could have gone to Cameron Mountain as planned;
I went to Beech Hill.
I could have taken the fork on the right; I took the left.
Ah, the careless possibilities of our choices – the last
thing we remember. And then.


Linda Buckmaster is poet laureate of Belfast. Her collection “Heart Songs and Other Legacies” was published in 2006.