When my therapist asks
what terrifies me the most I say death
but that’s not quite it and we both know it.
She’s quiet, hoping her stillness will coax out more.
Suddenly I am small and stark against the muted earth tones of her walls.
I am never more than one heartbeat away from my fear.
I believe in an afterlife for everyone except myself.
The dead visit me in dreams but when I’m gone I’m gone.
So then, what? She eases back in her chair.
In any other life we wouldn’t notice each other passing in a crowd
but in this room we are surrounded by every secret
I’ve ever failed to keep.
Ok, suffering. I think I am most afraid to suffer.
I see, she whispers. Outside
a House Sparrow nears the bald window of her office.
He skitters along the length of the dogwood
before taking off into the covenant
of a wide open morning.