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Friday, June 10, 2011


by Elizabeth Cleary

An unidentified Asian man jumped to his death on Tuesday
from the 147th floor of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. --Al Bawaba

Today, in Dubai, a man jumped off the world’s tallest
tower. He worked in the building; his job taking him
thousands of miles from his home and over a mile
into the sky; he asked for time away from his glass
cage full of corporate high flyers but his boss said No.
He could have called in sick or quit or cut off his leg
but being a responsible employee, he jumped from
the 147th floor; he could have winged himself from
the roof or the top floor, 160 levels above ground
adding 13 accomplishments to his total but he didn’t
and then he landed on the roof of floor 108, below
corporate suites and above the residents still at work,
so in all he only fell 39 flights without wings, far below
the world record and one has to ask if someone goes
to all that trouble to make a statement about personal
leave and leaves by leaping from the tallest perch
like a bird without a parachute, golden or otherwise,
wouldn’t it have been worth going for the record, maybe
make his sacrifice notable so they’d bother to mention
his name in the morning paper or maybe he did think
of that and left some room to beat his personal best,
as if daring his coworkers to follow him home.

Elizabeth Cleary is an American poet employed by a multi-national IT firm. Her poems are published in many journals including Tipton Poetry Journal, Boston Literary Magazine, Off the Coast.  Recently nominated for a Pushcart, she is co-chair of The Poetry Institute-New Haven.