Click here to listen to Mark Conway read this poem. As if falling would be enough     as in surrender
      as if the antidote to fear is fear          refined,

you give yourself
as nothing
         to the armless effigy
     of submission
and falling
is the prayer,

rushing face-
down in a mesh
of rain and ordinary
air, speed
lashing eyes
to slits, drifting
in certain aspects half-

Wanting it, teetering
on the edge,
between falling
and crawling, back taut
against the arc
of the almost-fallen object,
backwards against
the need just
to get it
over, the wind
forced against your nostrils
as breath

But he
is not to fall
ever before me
I rush to the hunched-up body
his knee bloody
beneath the tree

I turn his small face
see he’s fine
and slap his mouth shut

This is what fathers do
I say in the empty
tunnel of my body
though I don’t know
what fathers do
though the tunnel
is caving softly
and the last air
rushes slow