The cliff’s monumental resolve
Plucks the sustained note of its rise
over the wayward valley,
Sound thick and heavy enough to chew,
A nameless taste of memory
calls to mind
Seven years ago
When a woman who shared my name
Threw herself from the cliff,
Into the snapped arms of trees below,
The act of falling, monumental resolve
The upward sweep of dark hair
Against the grey hand of the rock.
my mother’s phone rang
with urgent voices
repeating my name as they’d heard it
On the evening news
Asking if it was me who had climbed
the bones of the mountain,
I who had stared down into the doldrum of trees,
watched them float in the captive air,
I who had murmured into the reticent sky
And still found no answer
That whispered “stay.”
I, who had scraped the soft skin of my foot across sandstone
With the last grounding pull
And still stepped into nothing.
And when she said I had not
That the name, though mine, was not mine,
I heard the relief in the notes of their voices
Collapsing into soft reprieve.
But I knew what it was
To wonder if the plummet was
like the upward flutter of coat in a draft or
The cold sweep of wind across a wet finger or
the warm, couching blast of a passing subway car.
And they don’t report on suicides for this reason
But everyone hoped it was an accident
Because accidents can be explained away
As the things that pluck us up and drop us into death,
But walking into death
With open eyes always led to too many questions.
Someday, she and I--
our name will be said for the last time
Edging on the ledge of wrinkled lips
Staring into the ground below—
And the syllables will hold themselves over the edge of the world
Based on a true story. A woman who shared my name died by suicide in my hometown.