Various and Sundry Poetry

what it's like to tumble off the boardwalk

It's not just about falling. Or mistake. Or accident.
What it is, really, is a sudden unveiling,
a breaking through between the solid, certain you
and the you peeking like a precocious child
from behind a bedroom door
while guests are arriving downstairs.
The glimpse of the chaos that would ensue
if you ran into the grownups holding grownup drinks
and talking, properly, about politics or the sagging economy.
the immediate electricity of your arrival.

You tumble off the boardwalk like arrival -
you were upright all day making things, fixing things,
staying on top of your precious, alphabetized world
and you never could have anticipated your own
temporary collapse, with you on your knees scrambling,
imagining the contents of your bags sinking
into quicksand - this is the frantic and beautiful moment
of utter disorder, and the word "fuck" staccatoing
out your mouth like a mantra - "fuck fuck fuck,"
and then you wondering, as you look up
to gauge the entirety of the mess,
of any of the neighbors saw you fall.

No, of course no one did, but now, in the retelling,
you wish they had.
The fall was spectacular, full of high comedy and excruciating
clarity. The fall revealed
all your good planning and finesse, was, essentially,
one hilarious charade. You were not, as you once thought,
allied with the path. Your mind
was not so tidy with calculation.
Your feed did not know the way after all.
Your feet did not know the way.
And so you fell.
And so you must fall.