Sound of a Body Falling off a Bridge
I can tell you there is no word for this
in any language. I’ve asked
and everyone seems to confirm
Feet shuffling off a stone pillar-
simple, but not easy. A young tree
fracturing under the sudden weight-
exactly how one imagines it.
And somewhere between shuffle and fracture-
the silence of Scott Koch’s body
falling off the Normanwood Bridge,
which is also the silence of stars.
They write their arc over faces
of stones staring up from riverbed,
and if you were a swarm of mayflies
hatching in the pre-dawn, coal-dark
aubade of a Susquehanna morning,
or if you were a freshman in college
and bought some pot and drove out
with friends to gaze at stars,
you would know stars make a hell of a racket.
Like time, like death,
they scrawl their inscrutable marks
Say you are not a hatch of insects
or one of those kids wrecked and lovely,
their skins’ leaf-awkward sheen.
Though if you were, you’d be lost
in a fury of living and dying.
So you’ll have to trust the words
for the way his face twitched, went
stone-white, for how unbeautiful
his body comprehended night, words
for a breath untaken, the arrested
air in his lungs.
I give them to you piecemeal,
hand over hand, as if in aftermath
we build a city of bridges. I press each
against your mouth. They taste of salt.
They fall into place. They are beginning
to mean less and less. They only do
what they do. For anything else, you’ll need
something like a life, or memory-
car tires ticking over a bridge, wheel
of a flower cart knocking cobblestone,