With love


Gas Stations

I am afraid of seeing a dark figure hovering over me 

while I sleep, faceless, waiting to steal mine.

I am afraid of restaurant spoons and and massage parlors

with smiley faces on them. I am afraid of knocks on my door

when all my friends are away and my mother’s disdainful eye like I rolled

a joint in front of her face. I am afraid of “I missed you yesterday”s

and kissing people I do not like. I am afraid of fraternity couches

and the things embedded in them.

I am afraid of getting swept to sea

partly because of the gnawing bodies underneath my feet

partly because of the intrusive nature of seaweed

and partly because of being forgotten about over time. I am afraid 

of being in so much pain  it feels splendid and I am

afraid of driving in reverse into yesterday.

I am afraid of tormented apathetic girls taking their final form

in their blouses made from men’s neckties and I am afraid of conformity

but the kind that is unapologetic in its attempt to be counterculture but fails.

I am afraid of Nietzsche and Kerouac types and boys on university lawns who read

Sartre and call it true. I am afraid of shattered windows and a shattered me

mostly cause by brutal hands to get what they want and 

I am afraid of men at gas stations and alleyways

during the day time and the smell of death and children in star-spangled

clothing saluting to something they do not understand. 

I am afraid of spewing a slew of words only to be left crooked 

and tangled. I am afraid of thinking myself into oblivion and 

making an empire of my own harm—like a palace made of guts,

and being on fire from my own thoughts. 

I am afraid of being afraid

partly because of the worry it creates

partly because it creates boundaries. 

Elizabeth Hsieh