A New Enemy

By: Dane Shannon
Eventually, we all make peace with our nightmares.
The monsters under the bed. The bats in the attic.
The skeletons in the closet.
Even the broken hands we find
under evergreen bushes.
We grow up. Sober up.

Instead, our terror just becomes anxiety, our own
voices whispering us into relentless insomnia.  

The car you need to get inspected—the brakes
squeal and grind every time you really need them.
The garbage in your bedroom
that you should probably take out
because it smells more putrid than any death you feared before.

The red “F” on a history test that stabs
like a glowing hot knife any time you
let it crawl back into your memory.
The puppy you rescued in college that turned
into a killer—the life slipping from his eyes
as he fell asleep on the cold tile
of the veterinarian’s office floor.

The insecurity that won’t let you leave home
without a face full of makeup.
The scars on your thighs.
The failure lurking behind a
poorly chosen career—writing with hands that hate you.
The alcoholism drenching your veins—
a wetness that years of sobriety could never dry;
that sweet bouquet of red wine will
lie heavy on your chest even to the grave.
The fear that shatters your world every time you realize

you have no one to blame but yourself.

That broken hand under the evergreen
doesn’t seem so terrifying
next to your own.

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