My dad hit a moose at 55 miles per hour.
He never had a chance,
that musky wrecking ball of bones.
I bit through my thumb on the couch
and bled like that moose—
life trickling out of his large nose,
baptizing the snow—a sad beauty.
A mercy gunshot for the fallen
and my dad walked away in the shockwave
of a state trooper rifle.
A few inches and this poem is a eulogy.
A few inches and that moose is a firing squad.
There is a cup in my house
with a cracked handle
and it’s going to break off one morning,
splash coffee across my legs,
leave my eyes paralyzed with anguish,
and I have no idea which day that will be.
Trapper Markelz: There are roughly 500 vehicle moose collisions on the roads of Alaska each year. Someone regularly commuting on Alaska highways has a 1 in 200,000 chance of hitting a moose which can result in the total destruction of your vehicle and sometimes death. I received a text message one morning from my parents that contained a single picture of my dad’s Jeep completely obliterated by an impact he survived earlier in the day. I quickly called my dad to see how he was doing. He was still standing there with police on the side of the road and recounted, with some adrenaline, the instant of the impact. After hanging up, I immediately sat on the couch and wrote the bones of this poem and thought about how that phone call might have been completely different and how we are all just one random act of chance away from tragedy.