Monday, January 19, 2009

Today from The Writer's Almanac

Everyone is Afraid of Something

by Dannye Romine Powell

Once I was afraid of ghosts, of the dark,

of climbing down from the highest

limb of the backyard oak. Now I'm afraid

my son will die alone in his apartment.

I'm afraid when I break down the door,

I'll find him among the empties-bloated,

discolored, his face a stranger's face.

My granddaughter is afraid of blood

and spider webs and of messing up.

Also bees. Especially bees. Everyone,

she says, is afraid of something.

Another fear of mine: that it will fall to me

to tell this child her father is dead.

Perhaps I should begin today stringing

her a necklace of bees. When they sting

and welts quilt her face, when her lips

whiten and swell, I'll take her

by the shoulders. Child, listen to me.
One day, you'll see. These stings
Are nothing. Nothing at all.

"Everyone Is Afraid of Something" by Dannye Romine Powell, from A Necklace of Bees. © University of Arkansas Press, 2008. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

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