We watch him fall because that is all
we can do: Bear witness to an action
that is unbearable.
He hasn’t been identified; all these
years later they still don’t know which
of the 3000 names is his.
But more than one family has claimed
him, recognized in his fall something
of their own.
With them, we watch him fall and we
stand, still. Sometimes the only way
out is in,
the only way down is up. I have known
what it is to choose when life means
death and death
means life. I have known what it is to
choose the unspeakable because the
alternative was unthinkable.
When Adam took his bite, it made no
difference who held the apple to his lips.
His teeth tore the flesh
and he tasted the last of the summer
fruit that sprang from water-fed soil.
He left us
craving the original skin, feeding
instead on the metallic tang of
plucked from the blood-soaked earth,
the iron alive and conniving upon
our punished tongues.
And so, again, we watch him fall.
And we fall too, all of us rising
for one scant second before concrete
and flesh recombine as dust
on twisted rebar and mirrors of
splintered glass and the scattered seeds
of earthly fruit.