Aida Schneider   © 2011 All Rights Reserved

Falling
       
And he hym hurtleth with his hors adoun…
                                —
Chaucer, The Knight’s Tale



When we galloped those fields of leggy weed,
that stallion and I,
neck-kissed, breath-heaved,
slung past ourselves out into the torrents
of blurred and hurtling speed—
and then that good gray horse stumbled—

or when I fell, climbing, the sandstone
lip beneath me crumbed,
scrabbling at the rich cold air,
guts uphurled but dropped like a stone,
bouncing sheer cliff to sheer
in lunged arcs and plummetings,
saved by a red rope,

or crashed,
asail on wet ice,
plunged in the white foam,
plowed into my footsteps as I walked the high snowy hill,

or hammered by grouse exploded from tussocks,
breathless, knocked flat on my back,
looking up at them
as they vanished among the silent firs—

or lost among those silent firs,
limping, gasping, blind with sweat,
wedging myself, bleeding, among the crabs and thorns
and twined clawing branches,
ever up, into the tighter brush,
following to my left the bright sounds of the little gullied stream
unseen for miles in the wrack of those woods—

and then, suddenly,
falling into a soft sunny glade,
lush with mosses and splendid upswept ferns,
a tiny space, just big enough
to lie in—

and lying there, for hours,
just a creature loved by winds,

secret, and alone to myself,
a being wholed by falling.

 

Joe Ahearn
Copyright © 2011  

A former fellow of the Michener Center for Writers, where he earned his MFA, Joe Ahearn has published two collections of poetry, Five Fictions (Sulphur River Review Press) and synthetic (Firewheel Editions). He currently teaches in the graduate writing program at Western Connecticut State University.


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