When it comes in,
it reminds me of my little brother’s girlfriend,
sixteen years old: how she holds his hand tightly and follows
closely behind him as we proceed through the haunted house.

But it’s not difficult for my brother to understand the panic
she feels as she rounds each new corner.
I can’t begin to imagine
how to explain the dread I feel
that strikes in broad daylight, in familiar places,
to my lover, whose hand I hold when it seems
that I’d fall off the world if I didn’t.

The scariest part is supposed to be not knowing
what’s coming next, or from where.
His girlfriend stays just as scared
when all the secrets are out.
One spook follows us to the car;
she continues to scream and cower even after
he’s taken off his mask and smiled.

That’s how I feel, face down on the couch;
it’s a beautiful day, and life is going well.
I hold a blanket tightly over my head,
scared to death for no reason at all.

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