My grandmother said the darkness can eat you.
She called it “el cucuy.”
I grew up fearing the outside
Where the night
And black cold resided.
But going inside
Did not resolve it.
Homes full of dolls and mirrors,
Outlines of ghosts
On the walls at night.
Never touched,
Never stared into.

I grew up stepping with caution
Wherever I went
Dirt never lifted where I stood.
The floorboards never creaked
Under my feet.

I became invisible behind my own
Shielding hands.
Quiet enough.
Quiet and safe.

It took growing up
To realize the dark
Really does eat you.
Not in the jungles
I imagined beyond my front gate,
Or the quiet
That enveloped me
At home, at night,
But in the shadows
That stretch
From my lips
When I speak
And only
Fear tumbles out.

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2 thoughts on “anxiety.

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