Fear of Falling

Johanna Shapiro, PhD

I have read
it is only by learning to fall
that we discover how to live

One cold morning,
when driving through the quiet dust
of inland freeways
we stopped for gas
Rushing toward the warmth
of the convenience store
on my new prosthetic hip
I tripped and went down hard
so hard my bones shook and shivered

I did not have time
to think I am falling
no time to protect
my newly acquired hip
or my faith in the
predictability of life
I merely had time to fall

The kindness of strangers
helped me up
My body bruised, bleeding,
filled with sharp, serpentine pain
the world looked cockeyed but clear
It was at that moment
I learned to let go of hope and fear