Perhaps you, too, have feared you were not “good enough.” Perhaps you, too, have been wrestled by self-doubt. Well–that’s the theme of this poem published April 17, 2023, in the wonderful Vox Populi.
When She Was Afraid She Wasn’t Good Enough
When fear scuttled through her thoughts
with its eight slender legs; when she recognized
the shiny black body, the bulbous abdomen;
when fear found all her corners and began
to weave inside her mind a home of steel-strong silk;
she did not try to befriend the fear.
Nor did she try to squash it,
though she had a sturdy book.
Not that she wasn’t afraid. In fact,
fear seemed reasonable, if she threatened the fear first.
Instead, as if she were her own sweet child,
she took herself by the hand
and walked right up to the web to explore—
noted the upper structural threads,
the tangle threads in the middle,
the vertical threads in the bottom designed to trap.
Every day she walked back to the web
and stared wide-eyed at the fear hanging upside down,
and then she’d leave and wander
in other rooms where there was low-angled light
the way Renoir might have painted it,
or rooms of flowers, or rooms of song,
rooms of laughter, rooms of starlight,
warm rooms with nothing in them at all.
Eventually she could predict where the fear would be.
Could walk right to its brand new web.
We couldn’t say she liked the fear there.
We couldn’t say she didn’t miss it when it left.
We could say she found a way not to feed it.
We could say that while it lived in her,
she found a way to meet it.