The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Gail Rudd Entrekin



At the start of the falling, there was that floor-dropping-away,

stomach-to-the-mouth, but after falling past immediate death

without touching, past his body falling, reaching for each other . . .

sometimes missing, glancing off sometimes holding on,

falling a long way together as a four-armed beast, flailing, 

or quietly, slowly, watching friends falling over there, dishes,

the odd ear of corn . . . finally they began to fall separately,

sometimes not even reporting the cow on the train, the broken

shoe, purple bruises, barely mentioning letters from home,

the shaking hand, the way nothing works right when you're

falling.  They got used to it.  Falling was the new living,

and they began, as people do, to believe there was nothing

waiting for them, no bottom to this endless drifting down. 

They began to fall inside themselves in the darkness,

and they knew what they had forgotten

but there were no words falling past,

all the words had fallen already,

and they each fell away into themselves

and she saw what he had always known,

that they were separate beings,

that she was a separate being,

that she could decide

the as-yet-unquantifiable upside

of being alone.

Growing Up

Lakewood, Ohio

We arose slowly from childhood's long green summer,

opening like hesitant blossoms, uncertain of a friendly clime

and during the deep snows of adolescent winter

froze in place, waiting, hoping to go unseen by the pair

of predators, hope and despair, by acne, singing the wrong

note, blushing the hot misery of spot lights, that terrible

standing apart and looking at oneself, no completely natural

act ever possible, and weeping over the endless aloneness

of Lake Erie's dreary shore. 

                                                    My father floated along

like a red balloon bobbing above, neither ascending nor

deflating, held to an even height by a short string 

in my mother's freckled hand, neither a starfish

nor a fish; solid, she never left the ground nor noticed

how we were lifting away in short bursts, not smoothly

but jerking like a car with a new driver.  Rattling the walls

we were higher finally than the house.  The balloon burst.

We milled around over the roof for years, picking up

the little red pieces while my mother carried on inside,

followed her path from here to there, and then we blew


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