Publication Date: July, 2020
Genesis: I originally wrote this poem in response to a competition in The Oldie Magazine. It didn’t win, but I still like it. I liked the title, too – it throws us out of what we expect since, in the normal way of things, falling objects speed up as they fall, rather than slow down.
It was relief she’d felt, stepping off the ledge, Fourteen floors above the street. Years living in misery; hours standing on the edge, And now, choosing to die at strangers’ feet. In her mind, where she’d rehearsed this many times, She’d seen herself holding a sky-diver position, Even adjusting slightly to change her lines To avoid killing some innocent other, in a collision. Instead, she found herself tumbling, spinning, her long skirt – The yellow one her sister gave her two birthdays back – Binding her legs as one, as she prayed this wouldn’t hurt, At least, not for long. Not after the first crack. Then a sudden up-rush of warm air stopped her dizzy spin; Arms open, skirt now billowing, she felt almost holy. As the thermal took her anger, her sadness, her sin, She realised, with a smile, she was falling more slowly.