My Turn by Jim Shelton

I am afraid of

I am afraid of
what I know and what I do not know.
I know about germs; I’ve never seen any, but
I am afraid of them. I have seen
death, but I am not afraid of mine. I will go through it;
I wonder what I will be feeling.
I am not afraid of mine, but what
mine will do to others; not the
“He was a nice guy” others, but the
“I was a better singer because of him” others, the
“He made me laugh” others, the
“He was a good teacher” others; those others. And,
“He was my uncle, my brother, my grandpa, my best friend, my dad.”
I am afraid of never seeing,
hearing, touching these dear ones again.
I am afraid to go to work, where
others are worse off than me, where
I cannot see what I am afraid of until
the mirror.
I am afraid of giving in to my fears and
of not attending to them appropriately; the fetal position
and the overly confident stride. I am afraid
of not trusting our Constant Companion, and
of where trusting that companionship will take me.
I am afraid this has gone on too long but
that I have not said enough. I am afraid
I won’t sleep well tonight and when I stop
talking, what I will hear.