The cord is red
and thin as my finger, hooked
to a metal circle at your heart,
all that will hold you.
An expert on how to be
reckless with the body,
you’ve tried all the ways to make yourself fly.
But this time, at the top of the railroad bridge
a new hesitation, and not because the water’s
two hundred feet down.
You straddle the black rail,
and balance on the outside edge
back to the drop of pine and sky.
I study all the parts of you, heart slamming,
and pray, protect this man.
You don’t look at me.
The slate river slows.
It is more of a fall than a jump;
you step off and back
legs flying up from the waist
your face tilting away, eyes wild and wide.
Bursts from your lungs:
Whoo! whoo! whoo!
And arms pulling circles
as if trying to lift back up
to a world you’ve just realized
you want to hold.