Questions for Mark on the Champlain Bridge

by Alice Christian


Swift Corwin
Snow Fence Off-Season by Swift Corwin

Had you already decided, dared to dive

hours before, deep in buddy bravado and

the heady heat of an April afternoon?


Did you need to scare up your resolve again

after you parked your car

and walked up the bridge?


Did you stand here by the guardrail, looking down?

Did you laugh at passing drivers who wondered what you were doing?

Did you think about how you’d tell the story?


Was it just another adventure, an ordinary rush,

or did it unreel in slow-motion,

like scenes from someone else’s life?


And how did the anticipation taste?

More like cold metal or hot blood, as you took a breath—

took your breath and threw yourself over?


Did only fishermen hear the splash?

Did your three kids see you fall?

When did they know

you weren’t coming back to the car?


The only answer:

the divers found—

you went straight down.


An earlier version of this poem was published in the chapbook Maps and Voyages 2004 by Otter Creek Poets.



Alice Christian grew up in Derry, New Hampshire. She has been writing poetry since she could put words to paper. She majored in classics at Smith College, where she also studied with Richard Wilbur. She now lives with her husband and dog in Colchester, Vermont. Her poetry has been placed in Montpelier storefronts for their annual “PoemCity” event. She has attended the Frost Place Conference on Poetry in the White Mountains for several years.

Swift Corwin is a forester, photographer, poet, and intermittent blogger. He can be spotted deep in the woods or at the lunch counter of some off-the-beaten-path eatery. You can read his blog, called Lunch with Swift, at His camera is always with him. He looks for beauty and unique views of the places he travels. And he travels New Hampshire feverishly, especially the Monadnock region. His poetry is an extension of the photography. He strives to make word pictures—pinning a moment’s feeling to time and space.