The falling man – if that makes sense – is falling
into a void he has failed to avoid,
a nothing nothing has prepared him for,
and the air, the vagrant air, that served
to hold him up has taken flight
to uphold something else, elsewhere.
His own two feet on which he used to stand
have lost their foothold: pieds-sans-terre.
The axis that aligned his thighbones
with his pelvis and his spine is
a capsized keystone and a veering steeple,
– a sad jumble of anatomy who knows
what witchy pins or poultices can couple.
Jamie McKendrick is a poet and translator. His new collection, Anomaly, will be published by Faber & Faber in November.
This article appears in the 17 Oct 2018 issue of the New Statesman, Europe’s civil war