The Border

By Mark Belair


as if scraped off

a sky of ice, fluttered

past my window, my flu

to the point of healing where

I could have gone back to school

but my mother kept me home for one

more day, a Friday, which gave me through

the weekend to regain my strength; so I was idle

yet alert, my fever evaporated, the lordly lion once

snarling in my chest become a kitten mewling now and then,

the school bus I could have been riding departed with my friends,

my mother no longer hovering, worried, her ironing board back in gear,

the cartoons on TV oddly vivid, the pratfalls painfully real, my receding illness

having delivered me to a strange, tender place in which I was not sorry my

friends were gone, or my mother preoccupied, or my rough-and-tumble

humor put on hold, for through my window—which I could feel

bordering inside and out as I bordered sickness and health—

I saw, as if for the first time in all my seven years,

the solemn presence

of snow.


Mark Belair is a drummer and percussionist based in New York City. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Atlanta Review, Fulcrum, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poet Lore, Slipstream, The South Carolina Review, The Texas Review, Sanskrit, and The Sun. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and his chapbook collection, Walk With Me, has recently been published by Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. For further information, visit


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