Rob Talbert

you jumped

for Erica Smith

I read comic books as a kid because I wanted to fly
more than anything. Stay high above the molten
rivers of night traffic and learn whether living
without ground means I’ll never again take
touch for granted. Of course, there’s always
the chance of falling — a fear that’s kept me
off diving boards my whole life and bungee cords
with bridges attached to them. Erica went skydiving
before Erica went drinking. This was long after
the rush-hour of high school classes had carried her
face out the door and into the city of our twenties. A face
I still recognized on the front page of the newspaper.
Maybe I was in love with her, the only woman
I was sure had fallen to earth smiling and screaming,
who stepped out of the safety metal can give us
and opened her arms across the vast green tiled floor
planes look down upon. The loud roar of progress
in her ears. Touch now a language only wind can
speak. Maybe the man driving the other car
that night was a pilot, wishing for more directions,
wishing for wings the way I did in the obscurity
of youth, wrapped in the walls of my bedroom and
crouched over superheroes. Cities can give you
everything. A bed made of street so reassuringly solid,
and all the sky you can take in, before someone picks
you up and it falls out of you.

Rob Talbert is a former corrections officer. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Ninth Letter, the Portland Review, Southern Poetry Review, and others. He currently lives in Virginia. contact


13.3 (Spring 2009)   The 2River View AuthorsPoemsPDFArchives2River

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