We Have Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself

Jeanne Murray Walker

There were days heaven seemed easy.
Days it came right down,
drifting into my hair like pollen.
Then it seemed so natural to pray.
Then everyone showed up in my prayer.
Talking was prayer, unlocking
the door was prayer. In those days,
I was all praise and thank you’s,
without even moving my lips.
People kill for less—
to be taken into the sky like that,
to walk as the holy do, without
exegesis, without even needing
to put longing into language.
Now the clouds above Chestnut Street
have clicked shut, locking us out.
One day our name is hunch. Next day
it’s grudge.
Oh, to live before we made
separations our theme. It’s as if
a child with a crayon drew a line:
here’s the sky, here’s the earth,
here’s a woman, here’s everything else.
Its name is Enemy.

Jeanne Murray Walker teaches at the University of Delaware. Her most recent book of poetry is Deed to the Light.