Thirty-three Down on the Bradley

You can ask people in this town

tied-up to Lake Huron, if they remember

seeing Shepard rocket into space,

or where they were when Kennedy was shot,


and they will tell you; but ask

them if they remember where they were

when the Bradley went down

and they will stare and go quiet,


remembering the shriek through the town

and how they were there,

all night, in their warm houses

the lake in the obsidian gale,

in their imagination,

watching the Bradley break open


like a box of matches and all

the husbands and fathers

tumbling off ice-shrouded two-story waves,

black and white, and silent.


Oh yes, they remember friends crying in school

and the sorrow that laid on the town, and they remember

the little town pulling close in and the weak spot

it left in their heart, for they had been marked.


Barbara Draper’s poems have been or are pending publication in The Talking Stick, The Aurorean, and Passagers where her poem received an honorable mention. She’s a long time Michigander, now living in Minneapolis. For fun she enjoys downhill skiing and playing with her granddaughters.