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No One Tells You - Rachel Landrum Crumble

that though life is fragile,

emergency gear is everywhere.

There’s a life vest under your seat.

EMTs are standing by

in the event of Plan B.

How many Plan A s

is anyone allowed?


Our ground time here is brief.

Check the atlas for any personal effects

you may have stowed away

since the cradle, memories

of distressed and smiling faces

when you screamed or cooed.


If you are illiterate of social cues,

check the myelin sheaths of your neurons.

Maybe nature left them

in an overhead compartment.

Dumb Luck has a limit.

If not, its harvest is bankruptcy.


You envision your life as an actor

in the flash mob who missed

that email, and thus, that rehearsal

and the solo assignment,

so you stepped out to mumble

the chorus, and stepped back

into mundaneness,

unsure of the script.


You’ve been mourning

lost moments of brilliance

so long that present ones

can’t reach you.

If only you could see yourself

from a cruising altitude

of 33,000 feet,

electric as the thunderstorm below,

shining in your unique design.


Rachel Landrum Crumble recently retired from teaching high school, having previously taught kindergarten through college. She has published in The Porterhouse Review, Typishly, SheilaNaGig, and Common Ground Review, Spoon River Review, The Banyan Review and others. Her first poetry collection, Sister Sorrow, was published by Finishing Line Press in January 2022. She lives with her husband of 42 years, a jazz drummer, and near 2 of their 3 adult children, and two adorable grand twins. is her website.

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