the site of the crash

one by one

he scoops up the small, dark stones

this one a bit bumpier than the others

another, impossibly smooth

nerveless fingertips lingering on the cool surface

then on to the next token

gravel digging into his kneecaps

hunched shoulders lit up from behind by blinding red and blue

the flashing lights are like a muted television


he may as well be underwater


slipping pebbles into his breast pocket

the cool weight presses on his heart

he cloaks himself in the calm of the inanimate

monotony is deafening

blocking out light or sound

and breezes that carry sharp, metallic smells

so he continues to hoard stones

slow and forced

one by one


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