That Scene in “Jaws”

by Joseph Nieves

When Hooper’s gruesome vessel

emerges from the churning, open ocean,

all mangled aluminum–

That’s what your bicycle looked like,

twisting out the trunk

of your friend’s car

in the hospital parking lot.

I saw like Chief Brody did,

guts wrenched.

Inside, you’re in a hospital bed,

scared. You don’t remember

what happened, but I picture the whip

of soft hair on steel panels.

Hear the smack of skull on street.

Your bike somersaulting

behind you. The hushed

oh-my-gods of witnesses.

Later, I’ll wonder

what I’d do without you

and contemplate

the stages of grieving.

Now, I say I like your neck brace

and think about how much cleaner

hospitals appear on tv.

This doesn’t look like a place

where people get better.

I work at distraction

while the doodads blink and bloop,

and we put on this dress rehearsal

for a scene like this

we’ll play out many years from now.

We might switch roles. Or maybe,

if it serves the story, we’ll give my lines

to someone else, and split

your part into two.

Joseph Nieves is an undergraduate studying creative writing at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. His work has appeared online at The Molotov Cocktail and on his mother’s refrigerator.