By Molly Headley
tomber / pas de bourrée / glissade / jeté
fall down / stumble like a drunk / glide/ throw it away
tomber / pas de bourrée / brisé volé
this is about falling
it’s about the bones of the feet fighting the floor
it’s about being broken mid-flight
it’s about movement or maybe it’s not
translations twist the tongue.
porte des bras / échappé / échappé / échappé / contretemps
In the end, the arms flail out as if carried off
by the bloom of a hot air balloon
try to grab it, circle it round
escape, escape, escape, they say
they reach out
beating against time.
encore / tomber / …
like a nightingale, a voice wakes the dark
tilling the rows of bleached beds
falling once more
Molly Headley received her Master’s from the University of Oxford. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in The Places We’ve Been, A Global Encyclopedia of Women in Architecture, Al Jazeera Stories, and Eunoia Review among others.
I wrote this poem specifically to submit to this website but writing has definitely been a part of my daily process during the repeated waves of the health crisis over the last two years. I’ve found myself slowing down my daily routines significantly and as a result, I’ve fallen back in love with reading and writing poetry. The perfect slow-living “food.”
I am American but have been living as an expatriate for many years now, mainly in Paris, France. The inspiration for this poem stems from the human need to make the actualities of dying from this disease more abstract. From a great distance, with no context or emotion, the rush and routines of a hospital staff treating patients could look like a choreographed dance.
I’m currently the Content Manager for the photographer Rehahn as well as a Professor at Leonard de Vinci University in Paris. Previously, I was in charge of all content direction and submissions for City Pass Guide in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I’ve lived in Idaho, Michigan, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and Saigon, and my writing tends to use imagery from the cultures and languages within which I’ve been immersed.