An Unbroken View of the Whole Region that Surrounds the Observer

by Emily Townsend

The advection fog swoops over the Golden Gate Bridge

hiding its International Orange coat,

disguising solo people edging


the rails. A police officer bikes along

the sidewalk, watching for jumpers.

Blue emergency phones and crisis counseling signs

are bolted on nearly every post, sun faded process yellow boxes

accompanied by another sign that urges


                                             “THERE IS HOPE MAKE THE CALL.”

This is something never shown in a panoramic photograph of the famous strait.


Someone, this invisible person, is always available to talk,

to say hello, to keep you alive, and you’d never see their face.

The phone receivers rotate within their personal schedule,

but there are no breaks for the phone line itself.

They don’t really want to talk to you. They’re just keeping a dispensable life alive.


You don’t witness a suicide jump;

but you know it’s happened before.         the four foot tall fence                               

Maybe you’re standing exactly

where someone leapt over



                                                                                                      into the narcotizing bay.

There is a constant halo of courage

and despair vaporizing in the atmosphere.      


You are alone in that no one wants

to talk to you, hold your body,

restrain your heart from nosediving

straight into another life. As you clasp onto the barrier


slammed against the wind, atriums and ventricles stammering,

you know they’re there. Waiting. If you’ll make the same mistake,

the right decision, all their unheard voices

pulsing psychotically                                    you are alone you are not alone you are alone                      

you are not alone,                               

            haunted by the ghosts                 

                                                                                                              of those left behind