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my eyes to look too intently at the contorted and regretful splay of what once was an old man, a young woman, a poor sad housewife? –and the surreal distills into the real–as I think of Jenny, sleeping peaceful in our bed, maybe having a dream of me out here running, her believing I’m thinking of the pale turn of her thigh and convinced everything we came to this city for is right and evermore. “Hey.” I hear a woman’s low voice behind. “What’s happening here?” I turn to see her, another early-morning runner, a slight and pretty girl with black hair and long graceful limbs. “Pretty sure it’s a body,” I say, pointing toward the rubble of flesh and clothing. “Somebody jumped.” I nod up at the bridge span. “What?” She comes up close beside me–I can smell the salt of her skin–and we stand shoulder to shoulder. A siren winds close, then closer, and a cab rolls toward us down Westlake Ave. on the other side of the body, the tall black cabbie stepping out to look at us and shout, “Another goddamned jumper–fuck this life, right!? Fuck this life!” Then the cops are there, and an aide car is there, and this girl and I are being asked questions and we look to each other to ask what the fuck did we just come across? “Did you see that shoe?” she says, after the cops are done with us. “I mean shoes.” “A black wingtip, there,” I say, pointing to the sidewalk as we walk the periphery toward the Fremont Bridge. “And there,” she says, pointing to the muddy path beside the heaved sidewalk, where a smudge of broken leather poses as what once was a shoe. Her breath is redolent with coffee and adrenaline. “Is this real?” “Yes.” I set my hand on her shoulder. Then we are conferring, and she has a pen and scrap paper somehow and we exchange numbers, saying we should meet, talk, what the fuck happened here, how are we the witnesses, we shouldn’t let this dark moment go, we should try to make sense of it. 32| PHOEBE 48.2


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