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
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
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
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