But you're lucky they didn't run you down.
These motorists just sinned by omission.
They weren't truly malevolent souls,
For evildoers don't take long drives
But like to go quickly, air first class.
They pass our traffic unseen overhead
And stare down through clouds on smaller minds,
On minds who see neither out nor in,
But travel trapped in lanes at posted speeds
Exposed to winds that buffet either side.
It's these others, captives of causation,
The self-oblivious self-victimized,
Whom wise men fear, who pose the most risk.
Evildoers always go for the throat,
But who knows which way the others go?
The antecedents seen for harm received
Are rarely calculated plots or plans
That hellish cabals hatch well in advance.
Rarely is Satan's hand found a factor
After skids are measured, wrecks uncoupled,
And cops file reports on causes of crash.
You rarely see an auto accident
That isn't due to some loss of control,
Or due to alcohol or lack of sleep,
Due to wasp-stings or fits or failed brakes,
Or due perhaps to momentary rage
At lesser, slower beings who don't submit
And yield their right of way to God's elect.
Like cattle they startle and turn to flee
Or flare their nostrils, lower horns to charge,
And drive full speed into your rear end.
You can't blame those who turn murderous
When thwarted by a herd too fat for stampede,
That won't move off from claimed clumps of grass.
No, these were just ordinary folk,
Sometimes the killers, sometimes the kill,
Depending which way they happened to face.
That's not to say, of course, they were not damned,
As surely cursed as more complicit souls,
Or so I croaked as each car sped by,
As each step I took took away hope.
They just overlooked you, easy to do
Even if your stature were greater then.
They wouldn't have missed you, or not by much,
Had you lept from the side into their path.
My job, Marguerite, as I understood,
Did not include a selfless sacrifice.
Your's was more an administrative role?
Had a driver exercised his will
And turned aside from whatever task
Propelled him along this parallel course,
He might have earned himself a dividend,
Good karma, air miles or bonus points
For helping fellow fools escape the fate
That lay beneath vision, building its steam.
But none, it appeared, possessed what it took,
The wherewithal to cancel cruise control,
To ease up on gas and apply the brakes.
Nor did God in any detectable way
Do aught here to hinder, hamper or halt
The heedless, headlong rush down the road
That took them down into perdition's pit.
One divine pinch could cut fuel flow
And bring drought unto the carburetor.
A subatomic spark could leap the gap,
Snap a synaptic whip, ignite a nerve,
Deflect a steering wheel to seek the ditch,
And swerve the damned to early salvation.
But here, as elsewhere, God deferred profit;
Heaven shunned quick gratification
And instead fed itself suspended chords,
Took a payoff too mystic and sublime,
Too subtle, too remote, too quirky
For any human mind to ever ken.
Liber Jonae Contents