James Lee Jobe
What Happened On Texas Highway 34 In 1969 - Poem by James Lee Jobe
The man was dying, thrown from his truck like a projectile, an accident
in the driving spring rain, a dark country highway. My father,48, lifted
the man's broken upper body, and held him, asking, 'Who are you? '
'Ron Seibert, ' he gasped, choking, coughing up too much blood
on my father's shirt. Dad looked up at me, ashen, his eyes full,
where Ron couldn't see the horror on his face,
and shook his head at me; no. I was a boy of 12,
and I knew this battered man we'd found would die.
I only then noticed the lake of fresh blood
he had been laying in. Ron, coughing, wheezing, tried to tell us
he had been moving across country, his wife and child
were following in their car, they'd been separated
in the hard storm. He was 26. He wanted to tell us more,
about how he loved his family, but Dad hushed him, saying,
'I know. They know, too. Just let go, son, ' he told
this young stranger he was holding, 'It's just a doorway,
don't be afraid. Let go. This is your time.' Ron breathed out
one long last breath, relaxed, and was gone. He'd walked
through death's door just as the headlights from his wife's car
topped the rise. My father, the war veteran who I'd thought
was so hard, cried as he sat there in the mud and the rain.
Later, driving home wet, he asked me, 'Did I do wrong? '
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