A mouse skitters along

the baseboard, stops,

then waits, apprehensive;

her whiskers alive

to the slightest air.

Shadows blossom on the walls.

Fear pads through the room,

aware of nothing but itself

growing inside others

like a worm in a rose.

What with so many cuts

and small pricks upon

our faces and fingertips,

fear bleeds into the air

like flowers from god’s mouth:

fear flourishes on nothing,

feeds on nothing, blooms

from the nothing we carry

like bags of broken glass

spilling into our hands.

The mouse sits still

surrendering to the fear,

surrendering to the waves,

knowing she will lose herself,

knowing she will drown.

(January 31, 2023)

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