Suicide Prevention Project: 2

How I knew by Alan Girling

for Andre

How I knew the moment
you revved your motorcycle
and sped from my house
after hours locked in
your agony in the bathroom
the water running loud
that you were headed for the bridge
I do not know.

Nor do I know
upon spotting your bike tilted
red and forlorn on the gravel shoulder
how I was able to climb with the traffic
to the highest point of suspension
where you seemed to float
staring down at the waves below.

And when I gently rested
my hand on your arm
you white-knuckled gripping the rail
and I felt the steel of your tendons
I don’t know by what mystery
you were able to ease
finally to let go to follow me
on our precarious descent
back to earth.

And later while sitting
in that fluorescent diner
me shivering at the bottom of a well
you and your eyes an abyss
no one would ever truly fathom
I don’t know how I came to believe
that you had been saved
that I had done something
that could stop the riptide
coursing so resolutely
through your narrows.

Alan Girling lives in Richmond, B.C. and writes poetry mainly, sometimes other forms. His work has appeared online, in print, on the radio, even in shop windows. Such venues include Pif, The Ekphrastic Review, Hobart, The MacGuffin, Smokelong Quarterly, CBC Radio and the streets of New Westminster. He is happy to have had poems recognized in local poetry contests and to have a play produced for the Walking Fish Festival in Vancouver, B.C.