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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Black (10/15/09)

TITLE: Black Dog
By Thomas Kappel
10/20/09


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Black.
Desert night.
Headlights punch
a flashlight hole
lighting the black asphalt
highway ahead.

Cactus’ wave as you
blur past.
Prickley arms reach
to capture you
or pull you into a
painful dance.

Nothing Changes.
The black bowl of
sky overhead is
motionless.
The mountains in the
distance never move
closer.

The speedometer
glides past 100.
The desert through
the side windows
change in slow motion.
No service on your cell phone.
The radio is broken.
The mind wanders.
Time expands
and
contracts.

And a huge black dog
steps out into the road.
Headlight red eyes
stare as you
slam on the breaks.

The car fishtails
spins
slides off the road
smashing to the ground
a Saguaro
in the shape of
a cross.

A prayer screams
from your open
mouth
as the car tumbles,
rolls, and lands
upside down in a
deep
arroyo.

You awake to
the smell of heat,
sand, and blood.

You can’t move.

You hear the
metallic crackling,
and groaning as
your car so slowly
dies around you.

Then nothing.

You reach out and
touch the gold cross
hanging from the
rearview mirror.

You take a breath
and pain shoots
through squeezing
you into a tight ball.

You begin to pray
again.

“Into your hands
Father
I
commit my soul.”

Darkness comes

then

black.


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This article has been read 380 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 10/22/09
The words that popped into my head at the conclusion of your piece were: Be prepared. Be watchful. Repent.
Loren T. Lowery10/23/09
You took your reader on a harrowing ride with this poem - it felt real - as if the author had been down this road before and was sharing a grateful lesson.
Mona Purvis10/25/09
Very effective use of present tense. Gripping. Telling a story to impact the living. Good job on this.
Mona
Jan Ackerson 10/28/09
Excellent pacing in this heart-thumping poem! Very well done.

I caught a few misspellings: cactus' shouldn't have an apostrophe (probably should be cacti), and "prickly"--not sure about the capitalization of Saguaro, either.

Sorry to nitpick...the poem is excellent, and some day I hope to learn to write free verse with such craftsmanship.