We are scared of small things that cannot hurt us, not
really: mice, lizards, cockroaches, spiders, childhood
crushes whose sticky fingers have long been pried off
sticks and stones. When I was eight or nine I opened
my grandmother’s cupboard to find a nest brimming
with baby birds, their fresh pink beaks waiting to catch
something from above—a gift, a miracle, glorious and
generous and sustaining—their hungry, beady eyes
demanding something I could not give. When I ran
away, there were startled, terrified tears on my face; I
had just been looking for a snack. Since then I have
sidestepped every sparrow I have passed on the street,
and doves in wedding ceremonies make me more
nervous than the pause it takes for the bride and groom
to say, “I do.” If you lock me in a room full of pigeons I
will cry, and every aviary is a place I will never visit.
We are scared of small things that cannot hurt us but
on bad days there are creatures hiding in the closet and 
monsters under the bed and there are sticks and stones
still, and our bones are breaking & breaking & breaking. 
Sometimes I am scared of the dark, of heights, of closed
spaces. Sometimes I am scared of sadness, of loneliness,
of the very fear that runs through my veins searching for
a place to stay when all you do is stand tall and be strong,
when all you are is brave. Sometimes I am scared of the 
sound of your footsteps fading, the look on your face when 
it hits you that maybe you made a mistake. Maybe I made
a mistake. Maybe we made a mistake. Sometimes I am
scared that you will realize that we are utterly wrong
for each other, but more often, too often, I am scared
that this will not sting as much as we both want it to.
Someday I will sidestep every memory of you. Someday
someone will lock me in a room full of the words that 
once belonged to you, and I will vow that every house 
that still knows your name is a place I will never visit.