There are no portals, and little wisdom.
Men jump from balconies with best wishes
for those below, hitting the sidewalk asleep
and dreaming of remote perches. They grip
metal rungs and arch backs in practice,
perfecting their pre-flight posture
in anticipation of the plummet. Trinkets
fall out of coat pockets, cell phones trill
on belts tightened against the leathered morning,
and handkerchiefs billow in the wind.
Wallets drained of bills strain against buttock-seams
and the cries of the birds sound quietly:
men stretch arms into grotesque wingspans,
thoughts of husbandry and fatherhood aloft
for a moment, then hitting earth with a thud,
cast off like dead plumage. Like crows who fly
from barren nests in search of gallows on which
to rest, or cardinals that shed vermilion atop
the corpses of brethren, men balance on railings
and teeter there, unsure of their flight paths through
this estuary of city skyline, this stasis precipice.
~ ~ Shane Neilson