ONE NIGHT

Fueled on gin and juice and all manner of firewater,
I swaggered over the side of a bridge under construction
into the blue-black lips of the Shark River,
plunged blind into the cold.

What they say about life flashing is true.
It comes in bits you thought you forgot.
I saw myself a child in grass, my parents,
young again, bent over me, and other moments,
wisps that, when I lived them, seemed unimportant,
all flickering until I gasped to the barnacled pylon
that saved me.

But the way down –
I didn’t know I had fallen
so for just a few seconds I was weightless
in a perfect canyon of darkness.
This is the gift I was given,
or that I stole:
the sublime freedom of being
without body.

Today there is work that makes me numb
and a suitcase packed for traveling,
but when I close my eyes at night
I am still back there,
clinging to a beam at the mouth of a river,
my ears filled with wind and water –
and above, the patient waiting stars.

Alissa Pecora

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