Poem, Poetry

Ross Thompson

King Of The Mist

I cannot tell what unknown force compelled
me to ride a barrel over the Horseshoe Falls,
whether it was courage or stupidity,
hubris or suicidal tendencies

that led me to construct an iron and oak
bathysphere and plummet, like Lussier
or Lucifer, the fifty-one metres
from crest to plunge pool where dense mist obscured

the remains of five thousand fools who knew
the risk of fractured jaws, dismembered arms
or certain death but nonetheless held their breath
and took a dive at seventy-five miles

per hour into the depths. Barnum and Bailey
would have wept for my bravery, as the crowd
wept when my puncheon split open, my body
spilt out, and the torrent flailed my limbs to make

it appear as if I was swimming clear
of the invisible hole punched through the sound
but I was spewed from the mouth of a cannon
and my broken body was never found.

Ross Thompson is a writer from Bangor, Northern Ireland. His debut poetry collection Threading The Light is published by Dedalus press, and his work has featured in a variety of places including television, radio and short films. Most recently, he wrote and curated A Silent War, an audio poetry sequence in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that raised funds for charity. He is currently working on several projects including a second full-length collection.