Keith Inman’s Reading

 Jessy’s Fall

It baffled Cole how things fell
into place. In his back yard,
golden leaves were letting go
on a cold November day
when blue skies and patchy grass
filled with stems of light.

But what triggered the release,
what sent this leaf or that leaf
floating in a volley of unsequenced
letting go: one after the other,
a tangle of two, breeze of three,
wind gust of four or more.

The newspaper said Jessy was dead.
It’d been years since they’d worked together,
Jessy quitting to become a signalman
after learning all the hand gestures
so he could guide a tall crane
against a cloud-nestled sky.

They called him ‘the mute,’
for his practising all the time
even though he was only twenty-five then,
wore plaid shirts and baggy cords,
kept his hair in a pony tail.

His favourite saying was ~
“Know what I mean.”
As if wisdom and knowledge
was something understood,
easy as a tale he might tell a child
while helping them to rake leaves.
“Leaves!” Jessy would have said,
“They fall ‘cause they have to go to sleep.”

Cole didn’t know how far Jessy fell.
They don’t always give out
such information. The cable simply snapped,
as cables do under tension, whipping
like an uncoiled lash of wind
across his catwalk

not to the left, not to the right,
but christened him on the temple
and wrapped another fellow’s leg
as if they were chosen that day
that minute that instant to be released

falling past the sun rayed
dusty windows, a crumpled leaf
and a tethered bird spinning in air.

But Cole wasn’t there,
he didn’t really know that
on this frost filled day
where the wind and leaves
appeared to make choices.

~ previously published in Event