The Falling Man

In that kidding tone of yours, you told
me it all began

when the smooth soles of your dress shoes             
skidded on the rain-soaked grass.

Your body splayed on the ground,
displayed on the ground.

Your new suit so unsuitable
on the diagonal plane.

How you tried to recover yourself
by covering yourself

with small dismissive gestures,
like the cat,

licking herself, slicking herself,
after a clumsy fall.

You compared your anarchist limbs
to the antichrist limbs

of the medieval damned, in those
paintings where they’re

tumbling from God’s grace: arms
flung over their heads,

bodies like flaccid Xs, exiting
the upright world.

You kept searching the neighbors’
windows to find your reflection

in some sympathetic eye, any I,
because like all of us

you needed to be beheld, to be
held, so the falling would stop.

Tucano   acrylics, photograph on plexiglas
Copyright 2006, Carolyn Krieg

Copyright 2011,  Jeanne Wagner

Jeanne Wagner is the recipient of several national awards, including the MacGuffin Poet Hunt, the Ann Stanford Prize, the Briar Cliff Review Award and the 2011 Inkwell Prize, judged by Mark Doty.   Her poems have appeared in Southern Poetry ReviewRHINOCincinnati ReviewAlaska Quarterly Review and PBS website’s Poem of the Week. She has five collections of poetry; the most recent, In the Body of Our Lives, was released by Sixteen Rivers press in 2011.  "The Falling Man" was previously published in The Carquinez Review, Vol. 4, Issue 4.

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