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.