THE KNOX MINE DISASTER

By Rachel McCarren

Exeter, PA, 1959

When the mine tunnels collapsed,
the river dragged fistfuls of horses into its depths,
uprooted trees and swallowed train cars whole,
trapped a hundred men inside and drowned them in darkness.

Now, the river carries the miner’s bodies back to the surface.
They float belly-up below the docks. Their dead eyes shine 
like so many dimes wasted at the bottom of a wishing well.
I wade in knee-deep with the other miners’ wives.

We sift their lovers from the black water, lay them out in a line.
When my eyes finally rest on the shoulders of my father,
I go deaf. I cannot shake the sight of his body,
bloated and bound by willow weed, face-down in the creek.


Rachel McCarren‘s poetry has appeared in The Honest Ulsterman, Lupercalia Press’s debut anthology Vulcanalia, Anti-Heroin Chic Mag, The Unexposed Mag, and more. During her MFA at Carlow University in Pittsburgh, PA, Rachel studied summers at Trinity College Dublin in IE. Rachel is currently based in Pittsburgh, PA, but she plans to permanently relocate to Ireland with her Irish partner within the next year.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s