After The Fall

Maybe people have to go in and out of shadows … Maybe somebody has to explore what happens when one of us wanders over near the edge and falls for a while. Maybe it was your turn. William Stafford

I can conjure the feeling,
as if the last time were yesterday.
The realization dawning,
the horror undeniable.

A comment made, an email sent,
the damage done.
No way to reverse time
or pull the words back

It begins with anger or arrogance,
a certainty borne of unquestioned righteousness.
My way or the highway,
the need to be right.

No thought given to how it might land
or what could go wrong.
Just a singular vision
seeing only the wanted way it will go.

When regret arrives after the tears,
the suffering begins.
The mistake of a moment looming large
as the internal berating begins.

Guilt, despair, shame and embarrassment ..
each worse than the last.
They line up like dance partners
awaiting their turn.

In these moments of misery,
we forget how universal the fall.
How easy it is to stumble
or take your eye off the ball.

A trip to the shadows
the illumination we need
to remember our kindness
when it’s someone else’s turn to fall.

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