was her I saw first

pretty impossible to miss
brightwhite by the road there
in the early stilldarkness

on her back
wings splayed
long soft neck
tangled mangled

and then him
other side of the road
stomping backnforth
hissing spitting bereft

I slowed down
rolled down my window
quickstruck dumb
by the fury in his glare
and terror of my car
and me

when he’d spun run
and flown for his life
I remembered seeing them
last spring afloat on the creek
tinybabes in tow
alltidy in row

and then once
one late summer day
just the two of them
waddling along this same road
as slow and awkward on land
as smooth and graceful on water

and so so easy to avoid

though now I’d seen
somehow someone hadn’t

before I’d even thought it
or could try to stop it
what first hit like loss
started hurting harder

into something
much much worse