Jan 6, 2009

Falling

Written by Traci Brimhall

Read by Jeff Simpson

For the 141 in the Triangle Waist Shirt Factory, Union Square, 1911

They hear women inside, the clatter of hands
               on locked doors. Firemen lift their faces, stretch
       their broken nets across the street,
                       and watch as one by one the burning women

leap. The first lands with her smoldering skirt
               over her face. One girl waves her arms
       to keep herself upright until she hits.
                       Women link hands, say goodbye

in six languages and fill their skirts with eighty feet
               of air. Some bodies bend over the iron fence,
       their knuckles brushing concrete.
                       A spectator covers her throat, but not

her eyes. Bootsoles and limp hoses grow slick
               with blood, and firemen turn to each other and say
       They hit the sidewalk like rain. After thirty
                       minutes, they break down the doors

to collect the remains of unfinished stitches
               and immigrant daughters. Seven engagement rings
        on needle-stung fingers. Three days to name
                       the recognizable dead.

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