Plane Crash

A blizzard, late winter, pulled
the jet down, coaxed it into

a wilting roll over the frozen fields.
Belly up, its cabin plowed a furrow
half a mile long, then fractured,
open near a stand of trees,

Advertisement

a farmer’s house and Ploiesti asleep
in the dark. Women, shocked awake,

lighted lamps to see what sound
shrilled like metal along metal,
that carried human voices
as it fled. They shaded their eyes,

turning instinctively from the flash.
When morning came with its chaos
of bodies scattered like spring
poppies, what wind had left
behind farmers wandered out
to discover around those brittle black

trees. A handbag. Sunglasses.
A crystal vase. An Italian shoe beside

the road. The villagers remember
with calm faces. And of the days to follow,
that burgeoned winter-white, hesitant,
detached—what do they think?

They resign themselves like a scarf
to the will of the chill and ragged air.

5 a.m., outside Bucharest, Romania, 1995 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

It is astonishing to think that God would choose to enter the world this way: as a fragile newborn who could not even hold up his own head without help.
Ginny Kubitz MoyerOctober 20, 2017
Protestors rally to support Temporary Protected Status near the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Sept. 26. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
Around 200,000 Salvadorans and 57,000 Hondurans have been residing in the United States for more than 15 years under Temporary Protected Status. But that status is set to expire in early 2018.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 20, 2017
At the heart of Anne Frank’s life and witness is a hopeful faith in humanity.
Leo J. O'Donovan, S.J.October 20, 2017
Forensic police work on the main road in Bidnija, Malta, which leads to Daphne Caruana Galizias house, looking for evidence on the blast that killed the journalist as she was leaving her home, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Caruana Galizia, a harsh critic of Maltese Premier Joseph Muscat, and who reported extensively on corruption on Malta, was killed by a car bomb on Monday. (AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud)
Rarely does the death of a private citizen elicit a formal letter of condolence from the Pope.