Kerry Skarbakka 2Kerry Skarbakka1

A Colleague Falls to His Death at Niagara Falls by Marjorie Maddox

A colleague falls to his death at Niagara Falls

Of course, somebody caught him

on film, a small, bright speck,

like dust on a lens twitching

in indecision on the edge

of the world’s roaring

whoosh of wet wonder.

But close up,

who was there as he lifted

one leg after another

over the unpearly gate and dove

headfirst into irony?

A man and his lover?

A schoolgirl and her mother

(Look, Mommy, the man is flying)?

Or all of us

who dare breathe

the thick sound of grief

when it swims in the ear,

plunges to the inner

rush of nothingness?

Somewhere in a dark room, a man watches

the film of a stranger’s death

and tries to pause the reason

for leaving ground for water.

We, too, listen as the mind’s reel

clicks its possibilities

so unromantically.

We scan newspaper conjectures,

hum sad ballads on the way to work

where someone new sits

at the man’s desk,

adjusts honeymoon photos,

whistles songs of the sea.

We do not know the wife

huddled alone on their anniversary

in their large home

questioning why

or knowing.

Soon, we will search the man’s words

for reasons that are not there.

We will go to the service to view

the body that is not there.

When the music sounds,

we will carefully type ourselves

into the credits.

Check out more photos by Kerry Skarbakka here.

Recommended listening: The First Year – Tajdar Junaid

Links of the day: Paperman by John Kars

Lewis Caroll’s Photographs of Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland


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