If You Fall

If You Fall 
by Kathleen Dunbar

Rest all the way down  
through the bottom of the pond 
and its gravel nibbled by the fishes.  
Go past to where 
the moist soil rests like leavened bread 
upon the crockery of the bedrock earth. 
Beneath the plates of ancient seas and poured volcanoes 
put yourself away   
into the lower cupboards of time and gravity  
until you feel the pulled pulse of all your atoms 
begin to agree with the atomic signatures of all things. 

The rabbit comes out of her hole, 
no one’s dinner  
at the moment; 
this evening the sky a deepening blue 
held in the rabbit’s eye— 
her nose a delight of twitches  
for the tender grasses 
and the medley of the toothwort  
and plantain. 
The twin white starflowers of the mayapple 
nod beneath their umbrella leaves 
and release sweetness  
into the rising evening wind. 
Rabbit sits upon 
the cushions of moss 
plumped by an earlier rain; 
the air is washed; 
no toothed thing is about 
that would end a rabbit’s dinner for good— 
for her at this moment 
there is just a noseful of delight 
while her ears are listening. 

We are always waiting for death 
in some form 
and hoping to eat our dinner in peace. 
The rabbit cleans her face with her paw, 
ladylike and nibbling grasses in between.

Go down below the dreaming, aching brevity of humans,  
begin to feel the agreement among all things 
that those prayers given at the center core’s throb 
are holy. 
Everything else knows this— 
we are the only ones 
who fret whether or not 
to give our prayers 
or how to give them, 
worry if they are enough 
or turn them off  
like a switch 
as if that could be done anyway. 
Look how the young rabbit prays 
while nibbling; 
the elderly rabbit 
a bit threadbare and lean 
but alert and intelligent 
offers a different prayer, 
more brief, as the fox arrives. 

Does it turn out okay? 
The way is full of holes. 
Your old shoes never fit well anyway 
and it hurts to stumble. 
My dear, you’ve done the best you could 
given all the odds. 

The prayer of that which is all-the-way down 
returns upward to you. 
If you fall 
you will meet it.  
You might as well let yourself be loved.  

                    © Kathleen Dunbar

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