in the good company of my fear

it still comes to me
just when my pen goes to paper
don’t write that
it says
what will your mother think
it constantly reminds me

it has been years since
my mother first found my
first manuscript
and said no
to some poems
these are not the things
you tell people

she always said
and i know what she means
these are not the things
fear lets you believe
you can tell people

but I’ve learned to do it
keep my fear close
love it
feed it its favorite
lungs, tight chests,
spaces, tall trees
more time
more space

sometimes it asks for the sky
sometimes it wants trees
sometimes it wants a day with
no cell phone

we have become close
friends now i think
i write with fear in my mind
opened my mouth
and said its name

so it is no longer
a ghost
disappearing in my grasp
all things I know
bone, blood
my nose
all things I’ve been afraid of
all things I can now learn to love

© Uchechi Kalu