Girolamo Zini

Age: 20

Nationality/Place of Origin: Istria, Trieste

Description: rope-walker

Cause of Death: Died of atlanto-axial disclocation (broken neck)


The secret to balance

is to always fall up—

Even in training, I rarely

felt the net on my back.

I pointed my nose

away from the hills,

seeing what I needed to see

through the soles

of my bare feet.

The secret to my trade

is to only desire

the path the rope stretches

in front of you.

So I followed it every day,

the crowd’s roar

making tidal noise.

I never cared until I heard

Elena’s voice

in the throng below.

For one second,

my feet forgot their work.

My eyes found her face,

and took the rest of me falling

Although a resident of northeast Georgia, Michelle Castleberry enjoys visiting Philadelphia whenever possible. She is working on a series of poems based on the Hyrtl Skull Collection from the M?tter Museum. Her first book is Dissecting the Angel and Other Poems.