Critique of Car Accident Art Museum

In the first exhibit,
two Honda Civics are smooshed,
their hoods scrunched like a little accordion.
suspended in time a second after the collision.

The second exhibit:
an SUV. A classic
catapult-through-the-windshield job.
Nothing particularly striking or original,
retro-vintage-throwback, really,
the outline of a person in the shattered glass.
And next to it, the outline of a child. Perhaps
a soccer Madonna and her little Pele.

The third exhibit:
a 1960’s Thunderbird-on-Trans Am T-bone.
You have to love the 60’s T-bone. Nothing
sexier. Everyone knows if you’re going to T-bone,
you have to do it in the 1960s. Borderline porn
though, close to rape.

Hard to tell what the fourth exhibit is.
The hood of a truck, the body of a sedan,
the trunk of a van, the wheels of a sports car.
Identity politics at odds. Beautifully androgynous.
But it’s obscured by the rotting carcasses
of two large deer, horns and hooves, elegant
black eyes, snouts, dangling pink tongues.

The fifth exhibit, a husband and wife, their necks
crooked and angling grotesquely, snapped liked carrots.
The model, of course, is the new family sedan.
In the backseat, a baby strapped into a car seat,
still alive and crying, its arms protruding,
hands grasping, left to its own random fate, like its parents.

The last exhibit blurs the lines of all that has come before.
Two bullet cars, zooming head on at the speed of light,
the distance between them continuously
and infinitely halved, so that they never quite collide.
Just when I think they’re about to,
just as I brace for impact,
they turn into humans.

And they keep going,
men, women, and children,
forward and backward in time,
becoming more and more human,
then more and more automobile,
the crash only seconds from now,
from every now,
as everything melts into something in between.

Ross Wilcox is currently a PhD student at the University of North Texas. His work has appeared in Epiphany and Pembroke Magazine, and is forthcoming in The Carolina Quarterly. He lives in Fort Worth with his wife and two cats.

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