Still Afraid

How am I supposed to keep myself
from looking at all the dark spots
in the outermost corners of everything?

How can I allow myself to ignore
the shadowy figures that linger and loom
behind every open door?

It's just a few sinister places
the fuzzy edges of uncertain horrors
that manage to grip me entirely

Even while the spring expands and sprinkles pollen
I can't help but continue checking every stone
and fixing my eyes on the horizon that frightens me

I want to shift my focus so I can enjoy
the beauty and pleasure placed before me
but I feel compelled to protect myself

It feels unsafe to focus on all this goodness
my spine still shivers, all hairs stand on end
and I cower beneath the ever present specter of pain

Staying Present While Moving Forward

Preoccupied, I grasp at air
trying to halt the passage of time
the sickening, consistent tick, tick, tick
that makes my heartbeat quicken
tearing me away from where I am now

I want to be so fully present that
I can use these moments as patches
to protect me in that future I fear
collecting up all my small treasures
to remind me this life has been a blessing

There is no avoiding human suffering
and I haven't yet had my fair share
I have to learn to carry this cringing resistance
while still enjoying the sticky leaves of spring
while still soaking up love and sunlight

The best preparation is practicing peace
and expanding my capacity for gratitude
with every sip of precious cool water
resting in the sweet stirrings among the trees
and observing the cyclical life of the hillsides

Feral Heart

This heart is a frightened feral thing
with fragile trembling tendrils of trust
that take time and tender care to unfurl
and retract at the smallest sign of turbulence

A heart that slams closed as soon as rain comes
the sudden jarring crash of a heavy wood frame
scattering shards of glass across wet floors
wild moments of instantaneous implosion

This heart, it hides and prefers hollow echoes
the slow, consistent ache that's familiar
recoiling from the violence of vulnerability
cowering from slight whiffs of rejection

This heart is a frightened feral thing
adept at hiding inside dark corners
a tedious, painful toil can earn its trust
I hope you'll decide it's worth the effort

Unfamiliar Happiness

I don't know what to do with happiness
it lies limp within my marble arms
as I stare without understanding

I set it up against the wall
try to decide where it should go
while my eyes keep darting anxiously

Over toward the dark corners of the room
I've come to rest in, have made my home inside
being afraid has become part of my flesh

Fear fungus that fills up my lungs
there is no space left for peace and pleasure
trying to choke down inhales of sweet perfume

I thought enjoyment was supposed to come easily
not make my skin crawl with discomfort and unease
It's going to take great effort to retrain this brain

To feel safe inside the light of your love
to unwind inside the warm tide pools I've finally found
teaching myself to distrust my own false signals is a struggle

No Rest Tonight

The moon is heavy as it hangs
in a the thin spiderweb strands
of dark atmosphere

Its light is pressure on the water
that gives the ocean life
thick and rhythmic romance

A fox navigates the river reeds
she is silent and far from everyone
when she finally bows down to drink

Obsidian night twitching with transparent wings
tired eyes blinded by black magic dreams
protected by the barn owl's quiet vigil

The longest hours of the day
the world holding its breath just before dawn
reluctant to accept another rising

There is no rest in this piercing pause
the dreadful, dripping hope of heartbeats
in trembling preparation to do it all again

Fear Never Ends

Everything ends
and I am so afraid
of the empty space
between love and loss

Everything ends
and it never gets easier
fear of change only grows
I hoped it'd shrink with age

Everything ends
and I never learned to cope
with the possibility of regret
with decisions you can't take back

Everything ends
and I'm paralyzed by thoughts
that nothing new and good
will find me again

Feeling Soft

Everything was soft inside of me again
the sunlight pierced my unfurling soul
a sudden opening of the vacuum sealed air
encircling my swimming, distorted thoughts
my heart burst open, there was space to breathe

Fragile reflections in water droplets
held together by microscopic tension
pressing softly into fresh hues of green
the sensual humming silence that rises
in anticipation of a new dawn

Subtly shifting oil painting sky
melting through pink and blue clouds
I've finally found something worth the fear
of being completely swallowed up
and reshaped by an unknown hope