from "Steel: Products of Cleveland" 

Steel Action Comics 1 1938.jpg

Behind the plant, hazy, the tops of the city’s tallest buildings poke into grayness—beaux arts to brutalist. On Terminal Tower, a bird rests, ready to dive off a ledge, reaching speeds of 200 miles per hour. A dive is called the stoop. Under the Tower, trains come and go in tunnels. The trains move slower than the birds, which are falcons.

The bad guys throw her out the window, and she falls, falls, her shadow falling with her on the building’s face. Her dress floats up her legs. She falls, toes pointed in red heels, lovely in her falling. But he sees her, springs into the air, cradles her in his arms. She still feels like she is falling.

In courtship, the peregrine falcon dives and swoops. Sometimes the male feeds the female in flight, holding the food in his beak, their talons locked as she flies upside down, like the belly-to-belly mirror formation fighter planes execute at air shows. I imagine it this way, anyhow. From the missing bridge, I can’t see the bird.

The lunatic from the asylum makes his way out onto the building’s ledge. He wants to end it all, the moment of pain followed by nothingness. He jumps. Can he be saved? Of course he can.

The plane that flies inverted is always number five. The number five painted on the plane is inverted, as is the number five on the pilot’s uniform.

The moment the trigger is pulled, he fires himself into motion, racing so fast we can’t even see it. But we know it happens because there he is, his body blocking the boy, bullet bouncing off his chest, as though his insignia were the target and was always meant to be.


(Read complete essay here.)