A Brief Conversation With A Man Who Fell Off a Cliff

by Gita M. Smith

He said he was surprised how little time it took
to hit the ground.
He thought it would take longer,
that he'd have time to see
the purple swallows nested in the crags.

I asked him where he hurt and he said
seeing as he'd landed not on sand
but on a rock outcropping.

They are so brave, he said, right before he died,
 indicating with his eyes
the nests tucked in the sheer
and jagged face of stone
Until the wind.