Before the woman leaps off the 160-foot platform, she sees
the tear-colored ghost of her body.
Far below, beneath her, a man watches. He's gracefully hauled
her sweaty backpack, weighed down
by novels and crocheted dresses bought for her by the man before
him. He has come this far, but will not go
higher despite her brief begging. He puts a bandana over his eyes,
either to shield from the heat or pretend
he's not afraid to watch. She calls down for him to jump. But he
won't. Whether he's too wise
or weak remains to be seen. Whether she is careless or fearless
is beside the point. The point is this:
from that height, it's so bright she can see the city below
her toes. Now she is back in her body
that is my body. Mine and mine alone. Now I am back, looking down
at you, back to that time of perfect paralysis.
It doesn't matter what sadness happened from there. How your pull
exerted too much gravity.
How I wanted you to ascend to greater heights. That's also how you
and I were perfect.
When it came time to jump alone, the distance between us
had become natural as air, but sad
as a last breath. So I took a breath and begged the assistant
behind me, just push me, push me, push.