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WALKING OUT / William Trowbridge The Death of Karl Wallenda The wire shimmers between two buildings, twenty stories up, and a northwest wind shoves at the balance pole he carries like an offering. Below, a meager crowd edges back; even the children can see something is wrong, that the center seems to drift from the gaunt shoulders humped and swaying above those heron legs. "To be on the wire is life, and the rest is waiting." He said so after the Flying Pyramid collapsed, leaving one son dead and one more with legs inert as putty. The old man knocked his teeth out on the wire but grabbed and held for seven minutes, frothing blood, a daughter's hands locked on his ankle. He has held on sixty years, till obsolete as risk without insurance, a name for choosing a fool's hard lot. But today, when the wind lifts the pole past saving, he consents in silence to the fall, lets the wire go by without a glance, and drops easily downward, composed upon his final shaft of light. The Missouri Review ยท 19 ...


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