Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

“June 8th”

Sarah Beavers was a student in the Tennessee Young Writers’ Workshop last summer when she wrote “June 8th.” The Tennessee Young Writers’ Workshop and the Appalachian Young Writers’ Workshop, both sponsored by Humanities Tennessee, are one-week summer residential programs for aspiring writers in eighth through twelfth grades. To learn more about the programs, please click here. To donate to the scholarship fund for financially-challenged student writers, click here.

June 8th

The long winding asphalt snake
curved, ready to strike the trees back,
baked black in the sun,
and shimmered in afternoon light.

This snake was my road,
travelled from infancy.
She threw me off her back
into the mercy of the trees.

The airbag punched my chest
as my seatbelt snapped me back.
Dashboard now crumpled construction paper.
My windshield cracked, thin and spidery.

My leg, sloped and unnaturally bent.
My hand dripping red with flash of white.
I pulled myself from the cage of the car
into the unforgiving sun.

“I am Sarah Beavers.
I am eighteen years old.
My daddy is Ben Beavers.
I think I broke my leg.”

A woman, silhouetted by gold
on her cellphone approached at a jog.
I leaned back against the hill of my burning car,

The canopy of the trees
threaded through the sky,
a lace of leaves and bark.
My nose burned.

A siren’s wail approached.
I released the breath I didn’t know I was holding.
My sight white static.
I laughed at the fried mushrooms in the passenger seat.

I am Sarah Beavers.
My birthday is April 26th.
I am eighteen years old.
I broke my leg.”

A fire burned in my leg,
and knives tried to cut themselves out.
Swelled with pain,
EMTS snipped at my clothes.

Transported to have my bone exposed
at Vanderbilt or Erlanger.
Strangers asking me my injuries, my story
and I repeat:

“I am Sarah Beavers.
My birthday is April 26th.
I am eighteen years old.
I was in a car accident.”