To Death

In memory of Joseph Alexander Banks

To Death

I. Velocity

The average man weighs
around 180 pounds
and from a seventh story fall
it takes only three seconds
to hit the ground

In that span of three seconds
I wonder what he thought
if his mind like mine
was filled with kinematic equations
formulas predicting
the moment of impact
telling us precisely
his highest point
before he fell

I wonder what that weightlessness
was like as he hovered in the air
a slight curvature, torso bent
and arms spread as though in flight
was it a slow decline or depression
that curled away from stillness
as the hands of gravity
held his hands for one last moment

And momentum, a product of velocity
is either positive or negative
either we are rising or falling
but maybe on the ground
we see it backwards
maybe falling isn’t falling
if it feels like flying in the air

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Change and Resistance

Should I pull back before I place the drop
of blood upon this silver plate
should I let the red swell tight to syrup
or turn it into ink? Pondering resistance
the aerodynamics of cardinals and bluejays
caught between sunbeams and storm clouds
is this whisper loud enough for you to listen
or just a child calling a dog god, or god Bob
because he doesn’t know the names of places
should I drop a letter in the mailbox
stir a movement calling out for change
as they push me to the side and drown me
do they wither in their loneliness or steep
like bitter tea leaves, do their hearts cry
for one more day of the routine that kills them
because it’s all they know of life?