Falling Woman

by John Grey

No one saw the plunge
so who’s to know that it actually happened.
There was just a splattered, broken body for evidence
and a ten story apartment block looking down on her.
None of those floors had anything to say.
Maybe she jumped. Maybe she was pushed.
Or maybe the earth just slammed into her.

She was lying in a mess of wrappers and condoms,
brown leaves and broken glass.
She was half out of her face,
and her body and her head
didn’t think much of the neck that failed to join them.

“When she was small,” her mother said,
“she used to scribble ‘I love you’
on all of the walls with red crayon.
Those were the only words she knew how to spell.
Okay, so sometimes it was l-u-v instead of 1-o-v-e.
But she was all heart ~ even then.”

The hair on the body was cut short.
She used to like to wear it long.
There were coffee stains on her blouse.
And she was always such a neat freak.
Okay, so sometimes she went with the wrong sort of guy
But young girls are like that.
They figure they can make a difference
in a loser’s life,

She didn’t live in the building
though she might have had friends there.
Someone said she drank a lot.
Others reckoned she never touched the stuff.
Of course, the cops ransacked her pocket-book
looking for drugs.
They sent some pills off for analysis.
It’s their way of saying, “What the fuck do we know?”

No, she wasn’t pregnant.
And there were no needle marks scarring her arms.
She was a little underweight.
And her sister couldn’t ever remember her wearing that much makeup.
But then, they hadn’t seen each other in some time.
An argument over…she couldn’t remember.

Some kid found the body.
He tried to imagine what the sound
of flesh and bone hitting concrete would be like.
His picture appeared in the newspaper.
No one suspected that, behind those so-called innocent eyes,
he was conducting experiments,
dropping everybody he knew from a great height.

The woman was carted away eventually.
Yes, there was some scraping involved.
But most of her made it to the stretcher.
One of the bystanders fainted at the sight of a trickle of blood.
Another was disappointed that it was no one she knew.
Nobody came forward to shed a light
on what she was doing there, in that part of town,
far from her usual haunts.
The owner of the restaurant where she worked
said she was good at her job.
He didn’t mention that he once tried to hit on her
and she slapped two of his chins in reply.

The papers said she lived at home
except when she didn’t.
She had no steady boyfriend –
well there might have been one.
She had money problems but she was getting by.
And there was a whisper regarding breast cancer.
But no doctor spoke up.

Fact is, she was mostly
what only she herself knew
and not much in the way
of what everyone else thought.
On impact, conjecture never had it so good.
The truth, though, didn’t survive the fall.

John Grey is an Australian born poet. Recently published in The Lyric, Vallum and the science fiction anthology, “The Kennedy Curse” with work upcoming in Bryant Literary Magazine, Natural Bridge, Southern California Review and the Pedestal.