Judy Koren: A Camel Or A Rock

“Tell them you hit a camel or a rock”
advised the hospital emergency
admissions clerk – “or say it was a flock
of sheep, or goats – whatever there might be

wandering on a desert road at night.
They won’t make trouble if you tell it right.

Telling the truth – saying you fell asleep
at midnight, that it only took you three
seconds to lose control, crash on the steep
hillside, total the car and bash your knee

will get your license cancelled – that’s the law
Believe me, dear, that’s not what cops are for.”

At 7am he drove me to the station
saying “no need for thanks, it’s on my way.”
Reminded me “avoid amplification –
report the crash: remember what to say.”

I limped up to the desk, said a near miss
with some big animal brought me to this.

The officer on duty nodded, filled
the form out for insurance, every fact;
I signed it, took my copy, thanked him, thrilled
to have escaped, my license still intact . . .

Just as I left he said, “Lady, beware –
easy to fall asleep at night: take care!”

Laughing inside, I hurried out the door:
why should my tale of woe have been believed?
Clearly he’d heard it many times before
and had to show he hadn't been deceived.