ONE NIGHT ON THE LEVEE by Sharon Corcoran


For Betsy, Barbara, and Celia

We were three small girls
left in Dad’s care. After dark the phone rang,
and hanging up, he said,
girls, we have to go out.
We put on coats over Winnie the Pooh
pajamas. We gathered up
Chatty Cathy, Raggedy Ann, and a teddy bear.

He drove us down to the flood plain
where a small airplane had crashed.
It smoked, but didn’t burn. Car lights churned the dark.
A farmer had made the call to Dad, mayor
of that almost uninhabited place.
Police were there, and an ambulance.
Dad drove onto the levee where,
in the light of several cars, I saw
two men, one dead, one bloodied
but alive, pulled from the crushed
and splintered plane. I held
a doll’s unblinking gaze in front of my eyes,
too late.


Sharon Corcoran lives in southern Colorado. She translated (from French) the writings of North African explorer Isabelle Eberhardt in the works In the Shadow of Islam and Prisoner of Dunes published by Peter Owen Ltd., London. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Kansas Quarterly, River Styx, Canary, The Buddhist Poetry Review, One Art, Sisyphus, Literary North, and Bearings Online among other journals. Her collection of poems, Inventory, was published in 2018. A second book, The Two Worlds, is forthcoming from Middle Creek Publishing in 2022.

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