Apr/May 2005 • Poetry |

**Choosing Exits**

Given that you've come to a dead end

and are standing still at your greatest height,

peer over the ledge, peer over and choose.

The free fall time after one possible choice

equals the square root of twice the distance

divided by the acceleration. Acceleration

is the gravity of all that's beneath your feet

pulling you down, which comes to 32 feet

per second squared, ignoring friction, of course.

Starting at your dead end velocity of 0 would

give you 5 seconds to live with your decision,

5 seconds to consider how you can't change

your mind, once more ignoring friction, of course.

But you can never ignore friction. Friction

would be the wind slapping your face all

the way down. Or you could make another choice—

turn around and get off the roof, where

you shouldn't have gone in the first place,

exit the building by taking the elevator or stairs down,

the way ordinary people leave at their day's end.