The Accident

by Kendall Witherspoon
The Waters
Third Place, May 2015
Judged by Lesley Wheeler


I’ll stand right here,
at the window,
until I know
for sure
if that piece
of shaggy bark
is really a snowy
woodpecker.

Then I’ll call
my daughter
about her mother.


When big things happen to people, our perceptions heighten and we fixate on small things like a “piece/ of shaggy bark.” “The Accident” shows rather than tells us the speaker’s emotional condition, deriving power from vivid understatement. --Lesley Wheeler

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