by Amit Majmudar
Off and on for years now I have worked at falling.
I could do it in my sleep, and sometimes do.
Some consider it a curse, and some a calling—
Me, I’ll fall for anyone, no matter who.
I have studied this hard science late at night,
Solving for a fall that wouldn’t prove untrue.
Actors know there is a wrong way and a right:
Amateurs can crack a rib against the boards.
Death scenes ought to land as lightly as the light.
Think what liquid nitrogen looks like when poured—
Steam forever rises from its downward motion,
Part of it escaping, ghosted off the floor.
It should be this way, I’m told, with the emotions,
Every act of falling falsified, high art,
Lead and lightness alloyed in a golden quotient.
No one tells you this, of course, before you start,
How the finest falls are skeptical of weight,
Focusing on flight, and practicing a part.
Falling is no cakewalk. Mastery comes late,
Broken ribs held close around a broken heart.
Though I’ve fallen often, still, I lie in wait—
Every fall my first one, every landing hard.