blood vessels in his eyeballs exploding
and tries not to spill his coffee
clutched by fingers that the nicotine can't stain.
He grew up fishing the pond he passes
on his morning commute
now reduced to a milestone for punctuality.
Today's trek is different.
There's a swan standing oddly
at the side of the road.
Fifty feet more and the crime scene's revealed:
Its mate sprawled backwards, legs pointed to God
on the other side of the poorly named guard rail.
The surviving bird stares into traffic
as though considering the march
that'd send it to eternity
alongside its ill-fated lover.
He takes a deep drag
fleeing the latest tragedy
eight miles over the speed limit.
Teeth clench like chalk
in the mortar morning.
The acid of last night's grapes
wears away their enamel
as scenes such as this one
have done to the rest.
Petals from a blossoming tree
flutter through his window
at the next traffic light
and choke on exhaled smoke.
There shall be a fifth Horseman.
He'll come bearing gifts.
"Survivor" by Chuck Palahniuk