The Backside of Fear

Phase I

My sign reads, “Closed for business.”

I will reopen after I fight this lineage curse.

If you saw me today, you’d see

worry lines

transposed from paper to palm

dressed in unwritten ink

pressed down on a clean slate and

moving words from wrist to skinny branches.

I have been shutdown. In lockdown

hiding (protecting) creative fears

from a catastrophic letdown.

If you saw me at thirteen, you’d see

passive explosions falling from palm to

paper

blue ink covering black letters.

Soot on a blackboard covering white chalk.

I have been snuffed

by the fingertips of my own fears,

Goals repeat themselves on papers stashed all over –

I am wanting and waiting

to reopen,

to release my fear.

Phase II

I cut carefully along the lines

running parallel to my spine.

At night, I let the pieces mend

without any glue or tape.

When I wake, they fall a part

and lay to the sides

parallel to my vertebra –

child’s play –

those white ivory keys

I cannot touch.

Have I mentioned the wings

I tried to insert inside the space

I cut?

At night, the incision closes around the blades on my back –

in the morning I wake and stand, let the weight sink in –

Wings tucked tight,

White and light.

Yes, wings can look proud and earned.

Only sometimes, the weight of the day is something that must

be learned.

Phase III

Wings. Held in my hands, you are the backbone, the backside of fear.

The longer I hold you, the more I feel

with my muscle

memory.

My voice repeats itself, becomes a shadow

(flying wings) on dry garden dirt,

dead kale capillaries and withered bean skins.

Muscle memory. Theirs too,

Repeats itself,

folds in for the long shadow of winter.

To be afraid of dying, or the leash of fear

(don’t be) is not trusting your sown seeds.

Spread them far.

Come in…open your hand.

I see wings

the backside of fear.

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