How We Fall ( A poem by Claire Bateman)

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PostedFebruary 21st, 2011

Nobody does a swan dive
into Jesus.
Instead, we fall
bleeding or weeping;
we fall clawing the air
as if to climb it
all the way back;
we fall shrieking, unraveling,
all angles & knobby joints,
all stutter & putter,
our teeth rattling,
our hair fanning out like flames;
we fall foaming at the mouth
with hypothesis & self-argument;
we fall mutely,
hoarding our breath
as if breath withheld
could possibly
make a difference.
And it’s as if the falling
has a mind of its own,
episodic, all fits & starts,
overlapping time zones & air pockets
so that sometimes a faller seems to arrive
just prior to departure,
& other times a faller seems to be merely
hovering in mid-air
like Bugs Bunny,
unaware that he’s left
the edge of the cliff behind.
Some of us even fall
from the inside out
or the outside in,
the soul preceding the body
or the body the soul,
the trajectories describing
all kinds of arcs & parabolas,
disregarding every rule of descent,
demolishing every point of etiquette.

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