Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

I don’t write because I am afraid.
I am afraid of my words.
I am afraid to search for my words,
of what I’ll find when I plumb
the depths of my feelings to unearth them.
I am afraid of turning on the spigot and having them rush out
—or trickle.
Or worse, there is not a single drop
because the works have rusted from lack of use.

I am afraid of my voice
because the silence in which I suffer
has become my brittle chrysalis
and making any sound might cause it to shatter.
I am not quite ready or able to be a butterfly.

I am afraid of cutting myself open,
my blood the ink on the page
from wounds that won’t heal
because I’m afraid to tend to them, too.

I am afraid.
Of standing naked before myself
and picking myself apart
letter by letter
until I am just bones.

But sometimes a word claws its way out of my belly
and plops upon the page.
I look at this strange thing
that came out of me and it’s ugly and misshapen
but also, somehow, beautiful.

I am so afraid.
But fear is a casket
and I am not yet dead.

So I will go in search of them,
those elusive words that are sometimes
at the tip of my pen and tongue.
I will write myself into my own life’s story
letter by letter
even on crumpled pages
until I am whole.