“I’m coming home now”
~ Felix Baumgartner, October 14, 2012
At the moment he’s supposed to jump
there’s an interstitial split—I’m watching
it live on the internet—the video
freezes and he’s gone from the capsule lip,
vanished—like that—before he reappears
as a speck falling through sky. I’m falling
with him, catching up with him catching up
with himself, breaking the barrier of sound,
a teacup rattling the thousand selves.
For a moment I hoped (you hoped, too)
there’d be no fall at all—God has spoken
in reverse and poof!—we’re asleep at our desks,
dreaming white balloons, wide sky’s aching blue,
rubbing the darkened edges of our vision
curved with the shape of Earth, but no.
It’s The Matrix, existence confirmed,
and we are a sonic bullet never heard,
moving too fast for self cognizance,
written as a sequence of zeros and ones.
Call it sometimes oh not zero, call it
true, false & sometimes both:
oh one one zero zero oh oh one
because he is/I am/you are breaking
through binary code, rising from
the exhaled word, HAL’s motherless voice
reporting from the void/heard world, waking
the tiny shaken pieces that don’t match up.
No, he’s Felix again, falling through sky,
an age ago, an hour. He is
a mouthful of air, a savior at the door
and trembling. He forms the mouth into words.
There’s fear of it not happening afterwards.
~ Ellen Kombiyil
Ellen Kombiyil is the author of ‘Histories of the Future Perfect’ (2015) and ‘Avalanche Tunnel’ (forthcoming). A fellow at the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, Kombiyil has read, performed, or taught workshops at the annual Prakriti Poetry festival in Chennai, the Raedleaf Poetry Awards in Hyderabad, and Lekhana in Bangalore. She is a co-founder of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective.
Editor’s note: ‘Felix Descending’ first appeared in ‘Histories of the Future Perfect’, (The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, 2015) and is republished here with kind permission from the poet and the publisher.