The Old Woman Who Ran

 

She scared the daylights out of me
we were driving 90 Kilometers
on the autopista from Cuenca to Paute
Her skinny legs spread
her bare uterus forward
shrunken in oldness
into the furthest lane
just like my 95 year old mother-in- law
Patricia
bony, not seeing, blind

I watched the old woman as she leaped
across three lanes
my love and I were a la izguierda
in our red Peugeot 206
close to the metal divider
She never looked up
until the last minute
her and our minute lasted forever
her death timed across the highway
disintegrated into wrinkled lips and eyes

I saw her flying in front of my eyes
red skirt spread apart, skinny legs towards the sky
a puppet, an illusion
Her face in the windshield
was too close.

I screamed NO, NO, NO
just as my love turned the wheel a la derecho
missing her, missing her by a heart beat
a split second in two
My love would have been a murderer
in jail, so close
but he saved her, me and himself
avoiding his mother, all mothers

The woman who ran
was blessed by Jesus El Poder
the One who roams Ecuadorian roads,
protects giant trucks, local blue buses
daily life in every Andes village
and Us.

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