The Falling Man

My father is laughing. His laughter is crucial
to the scene. He’s telling this story as we stroll
up Quinpool Road, gesturing excitedly with
his bald head, wagging his white beard, the story
of his grandma breaking her ankle, how she
moaned all night, filling the country house
with her moans. A woman clutching a baby
walks past us. We both glance at her. All this
is crucial. Beside her, a man falls to the sidewalk,
in front of us, thud. He’s hurt bad. Twitching.
Groaning. We stand over him. Not touching him.
His bones, shattered. Did he leap off the roof?
His breath rough, eyes restless as a bird’s.
And he looks exactly like my father. Same age.
Bald, beard. He shudders, stops breathing.
Late evening. A guitar being strummed nearby.
The strings call for love. An ambulance arrives.
Orderlies step out: perfect twins my father.
Onlookers gather, mirror images of my father:
even this “lady,” white poodle in her purse,
is bald & bearded. Only this cop trotting up
on a white horse looks different. He is a skeleton.
I climb up & hold his ribs. We gallop off
past McDonald’s & the bank. A pack of dogs
keeps pace, barking in the last light. I shut
my eyes, imagining I’m three again, clinging to
the tank of my father’s Triumph motorcycle:
he is dropping me off at daycare.

John Wall Barger was recently compared to a donkey.

Published On: July 1, 2013
Permanent Location:

Volume 7, Issue 3
Canada Day, 2013


Forget Magazine

The Falling Man
John Wall Barger

Dear Liza
Raoul Fernandes

After the Porcupine
Aisha Sasha John

Instructions For Dancing
Elena E. Johnson

Sara Peters

Rapture Begets Sweater Begets Rapture
Suzannah Showler

Feb 12, 2001 - Present

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ISSN: 1710 193X

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