Fear, the invader, begins as a tiny tickle
that scratches and niggles and snickers and itches
I try to find it at the source,
in my shoe? in my sock? in the gaps between my toes?
in the hairs on my shin? in the folds of my skin?
But the more I search the more the irritation spreads
Until it seems that I am allover prickled
Fear has spread its empire,
trekked across my full expanse, from head to toe
and into all the secret nooks and crannies in between
as if I’ve been—this thin-skinned barrel—roughly rolled
in a weed-infested, thistle-pocked, bindii-ridden paddock
Rash-red on an innocent-seeming carpet of green,
fear has festered,
even the edges of my shadow
and I can’t outrun its irascible gnawing
at my flesh
I change tactics
lay down in a warm bath
and try to drown, or steam to death
the colonising bastard.