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Winner – poetry: on reflection

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on reflection

cold and wintry day
same work
same place
she –
driving to work
immersed with thoughts of the day to come
he –
driving from work
immersed in thought from the day just done

announcements vague radio crackles
urge caution; snow, ice, rain

she – not in control
split-second suddenness
the oncoming vehicle, the impact
consciousness obliterated – only silent darkness

he –
split-second suddenness
the oncoming vehicle, out of control
crushing impact
consciousness obliterated – silent darkness

she – unconscious, “jaws of life,”
extricating still cargo
oh so carefully
frantic lights flashing, wailing, streaking, swirling, rushing to aid

he – dimly aware, jaws of life

wrenching doors apart
extricating immobile cargo
oh so carefully
frantic lights, rushing, wailing, strangers, repeated questions
orders barkedsurgical scissors, tubes, needles, invasive equipment
cacophony of activity

minutes morph to hours…

the doctor’s pronounce

she –
“…so sorry”
such cold finality
time and signature noted
for the record

the doctor’s pronounce

he –
“you…very lucky”
entered in the record

she –

everything has halted
community gathers round
distraught confused numb
a surreal blur
kind but unheard
words are spoken

he –

in pain, in shock
harsh welcome reminders
of life continuing
relief, joy, gentle admonishment


she –

it has run out
he –
not yet
or perhaps…
something else
“When traumatic events are very similar but have dramatically opposite outcomes – death vs. survival and recovery – we can find ourselves searching for elusive answers.” Eckhard Goerz wrote this poem several years after two similar highway car accidents happened to him and a co-worker within weeks of each other. He is a recently retired health administrator, policy developer, and social worker. He was CEO of Eden Health Care Services from 2001–2008. A husband, father, and grandfather, Eckhard and his wife Joyce are affiliated with Fort Garry MB Church, Winnipeg.

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