free fall

what can outweigh
the comfort granted by
connection to

i try to convince myself that

being associated
with people of prestige,

owning something of value,
proudly strutting achievements

will inevitably impress,
and thereby

insulate me from
being just another formless

apparition in a long
procession of those disfigured
by the scars of

it’s hard for me to grasp

why i should
clamor to escape the
tumble into the
ranks of the


strategically unselected,
minimally protected,
while others flaunt
their graces, unnatural
faces masking

traces of pain.

much more terrifying is the
smooth seduction,
sneering suppression,

sanctimonious subjugation
of the swirling river
of domination.

i’m not sure 

i can ever
bear the blithe
banter of those

immersed in a
purposeless plot. 

i hear disbelieving gasps,

palpable horror,
superficial condolences
without tangible expression save
half-hearted lifeline thrown.
but i also hear
affected laughter

behind my back as
i fall, fall, fall,
landing – alive and

supremely satisfied –
in an oft disparaged
but intensely inviting couloir

without security,
yet bathed in the warmth
of generosity,


© Julia Penner-Zook, 2019
Photo Credit: Sebastian Voortman via
Twitter: @J_Pennz

Instagram: @j_penner_zook


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