I’ve been reading Paradise Drive, a book of sonnets by Becky Foust. I heard her read this one the other day–she said she had taken the words from the elegy of a woman she knew who committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. She rearranged and fractured them. The disjointed result gives a sense of abandonment.
Not the woman we all knew. No.
Never would have done she, like this a thing.
How could someone, her, like that ever do?
Knew we the girl: hurdler varsity,
date cute. Sport good. Track quit who
then school to pay rent; for endless hours
tutor of physics; to his M.D,
M.R.S., de Young docent, mother,
cub scout master mistress of,
bleacher-sitter, coach. The Giver,
unabridged version of. Middle-aged sprinter,
than ever faster. Lover, a lesion seeping like
after he left her. Empty was found there.
It, at the bridge ramp, still running. The car.
Rebecca Foust, first appeared in Cincinnati Review
The poem has a companion piece called “The Bridge,” which you can read if you get the book.