On the Other Side of Fear
by David Klugman
Walking up to the edge of fear,
Past guilt and doubt and insecurity,
A queasiness unleashes its snakes
In the belly. This is usually when you
Start running back to guilt and doubt
And insecurity. You make up stories
As you sprint, stories about the world
And about something you call “me.”
That’s when the suffering starts;
The figuring out, the puzzling through,
The parsing, the sorting, the peeling, the
Draining. And your stories never end well.
Meanwhile back at the edge of fear a faint
Call invites you to drop all that and return.
They keep telling you that on the other side
Of the fear is this bliss, this holy bliss like
Chocolate roses in the summertime, like
Subtle waves of being and relief. You’d like
To build a home there for yourself one day;
The color of the air is favorable to you
And the promise of an open palm appeals.
It’s like releasing champagne: the cork, the
Pop, the fizzing over and the toast—yes,
The toast, but first, turn the bottle slightly
On its side and then, pour.
David Klugman is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins Writing Program, and has been a practicing psychoanalyst for the past 25 years. He works in Nyack, NY, where he also lives with his wife and daughter.