Fear of opening one’s eyes.
Fear of glaring light.
Of black sand, the stepping onto.
Fear of babies’ soft heads, abandoned shoes.
Of open mouths, that bees will hive there.
Fear of flowers that refuse to be named.
Of cut hair fallen to the floor.
Of tear-sipping moths, the ones that come at night.
Fear of locusts, the roar.
The slow will of animals.
Fear of shriveled fruit.
Of reaching one’s hand into river
Which is the soul’s digression.
Fear of snake children, their translucence.
Of yellow stains on the ceiling.
Of cooking young goat in its mother’s milk.
Fear of passing unnoticed. Also
Fear of being stared at in the street.
Of combustion, especially the body’s.
Fear of forgetting to breathe.
Of the bird in your chest, that it cease
Or fly from your mouth into radiance.
-- Claudia Burbank
The poem first appeared in Hotel Amerika.