Short History of Falling
One half of the moon fell lightly through the window
as night fell silent, and I felt oddly old
and incapable of love, another gray February,
afraid as I was to fall asleep to my own breath
or bird’s song falling ever fair by some order
no one understands, least of all me who feels
the pull of flowers disappearing under fall’s dying,
leaves faded red and ocher, or a first snowflake
that falls and spirals, catches an updraft and rises again
before it finally settles on my lip, its cold way
of being coming earlier and earlier every year.
I wouldn’t do anything to change it. I wouldn’t
do anything but close my eyes and give over
to that floating feeling, my limp body falling
like leaden prayer never reaching air.
I lie in bed and lament how everything
could fall so terribly, like I have, foolish as I am
to believe there’s any right way for light to fall.
I have a long history of being afraid
of falling short, behind, in love even though I tell
myself I am safe and the worst that can happen is
I shatter into song.
Michael Levan’s poems have appeared recently in Indiana Review, Mid-American Review, American Literary Review, Radar Poetry, and Heron Tree as well as CutBank’s 40th anniversary anthology and Southern Poetry Anthology VI: Tennessee. He is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Saint Francis and lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with his wife, Molly, and son, Atticus.