after Sheila Squillante
In the Fear of Being Abandoned, there
is a house devoid of conversation, the
dull drone and flash of a flickering
television. There are empty lady pints
of Haagen-Dazs draped in dusty cobwebs,
cardboard pizza boxes loom high
like a house of cards.
In the Fear of Loneliness, the skin is
blistered and chapped from the
cold void of a lover. The frozen air
flays the tips of your thumbs,
turns nipples into shattered glass
and useless nerve endings.
In the Fear of Harm, you still flinch
at quick movements though no one
has raised their fists for years. You rub
your hand over invisible rubicund wounds,
trace the outline of an imagined mark,
push the index finger into the
indelible tenderness of pain.
In the Fear of Delight, you keep your
organs close and small: pleasure removed
is pleasure destroyed. Better to push aside
a world you cannot live in for very long.