Jeff Mock

If a Plane Crashed Exactly on the U.S.-Canadian Border, in Which Country Would They Bury the Survivors?

—for Margot

After I crawled away from the wreck
And smolder, I toured the dazed woods

—In circles within circles, I’m sure.
The descent was still in my stopped heart.

I hungered and learned the hard way
Which berries not to eat.

I wintered on brown pine needles
In a hollow in the roots of a black oak

And let my bones knit.  It felt
Good, between the spasms of pain,

To be alive.  Every morning was its own
Sort of impact, again.  In the spring,

A golden doe found me and I remembered
To breathe.  What a difference that made.

The trees leafed and the leaves breathed
With me.  The doe led me to a clearing

In my own heart.  It’s one thing
To be alive, and something more to know it.


Jeff Mock is the author of Ruthless (Three Candles Press, 2010). His poems appear in American Poetry Review, The Atlantic Monthly, The Georgia Review, The Iowa Review, New England Review, The North American Review, Shenandoah, The Sewanee Review, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. He teaches in the MFA program at Southern Connecticut State University and lives in New Haven, Connecticut, with his wife, Margot Schilpp, and their daughters, Paula and Leah. He is a sucker for peanutbutter swirl ice cream.

 … return to Issue 9.2 Table of Contents.