As a child, my father lived at a curve in the road and often woke to the grinding of automobiles against maples. He says the death of James Dean had inspired everyone to race. Most of the smashups resulted in bloody noses, bruised ribs: minor injuries. But one bastard hit the trees so hard he sheared his One-Fifty in half. When the police arrived, they discovered his right arm twenty yards from the wreckage, lodged in a wayward passenger’s seat. His hair had shocked itself a faint alabaster. My morbid father snuck out of bed to clip a lock of this hair as a souvenir, and he showed it to me forty years later on the day I received my driver’s license. It was bound by brittle twine and resided in his sock drawer with other valuables. He walked out to our station wagon, looped the twine, and let the hair dangle from the rearview mirror. A safety reminder, he said as he handed over the keys.
Guardrails now silhouette that Maple Hill bend. The trees are protected. Still, last summer, Mrs. Sullivan died there while unloading groceries. Heart attack. The story goes, she lay out of sight on her driveway for two days in the hot sun until the paperboy found her, lobstered and crisp.
Benjamin Woodard lives in Connecticut and holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His recent writing has appeared in Vol. 1 Brooklyn, decomP magazinE, and Cleaver Magazine. He is a staff member at Numéro Cinq Magazine and a regular contributor to Publishers Weekly and Rain Taxi Review of Books.