April 15th

I am afraid—
or is writing that
over-indulging in
a kind of histrionic,
pathos-laden, sentimental
slapdashery?

If so, what else
is on the menu?

I am afraid that there will be no job
after I finish my PhD,
And afraid of my fear, wondering what
it might do to me,
how it might warp me,
turn me desperate,
outward looking,
with eyes like a raptor’s.

I am afraid of the world,
of the president, of his staff,
But I am more afraid of how little fear
I hold for such monumental things
in those moments when I self-conspire
and consider my own job prospects.

I am most afraid of myself,
That my fear will turn inside me,
turn sour and stringent, forgetting
the joys beyond any job,
the life beyond the marketplace—
And yet, now a voice breaks in,
reminding me of how “meaningful”
existential questions really can be
on an empty stomach.

How do you make choices
between competing, uncertain, lives?

I am afraid I will deny myself
What I want most, for fear
that someday I will regret the choice;
I am afraid of what I do not know,
about the world and its ways,
but also about myself and my mysteries.

\

In the face of such fear,
How can we relearn ourselves,
retune ourselves and go forward—
To make peace with the limits
of certainty and of doubt,
To accept our love as our love,
and our lives as our lives;
How can we forgive ourselves now
for the regret and resentment we fear
we may someday hold for us as we were,
in this moment now and never again,
As we come to a final, supine choice?

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