Poem from a Jumper

Most people don’t live long enough

to inhale water.

There is no drowning

at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge,

but there are fractured ribs

almost every time, almost every rib,

as if Adam himself could be shattered.

Shards of bone travel like tiny scalpels,

haphazardly pierce the spleen, the liver.

Shattered vertebrae seek organs

like search missiles.

One woman jumped from Golden Gate,

second trimester pregnant,

with no injury to the uterus or fetus,

as if someone held this baby

in large, soft hands.


–from The Language of Phosphorescence, by Jeff Grieneisen, which will launch at the New Orleans Poetry Festival, April 20.