July 26, 2009

Alan Fox

THE ONLY THING

                                                   “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
                                                             —Franklin Delano Roosevelt, First
                                                             Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933

Place a wooden board
one foot wide by twelve feet long,
lay it on the ground
and I will briskly walk from one end to the other.

Place a wooden board
one foot wide by twelve feet long
between two ten-story buildings
and I won’t touch the sucker.

As far back as I can remember
I have been afraid of edges,
afraid of falling,
which is why I take no high chances.

I find it strange that many others—
painters, window washers, steel workers—
step on high
without a thought.

But as far back as I remember
I have never been afraid of money—
ten cents for a comic book
or ten million dollars for an investment.

The lesson, long hidden, is clear:
My fear is not out there.
It doesn’t belong to you.
It’s merely inside me.

from Rattle #30, Winter 2008

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