Fear of Everything

Fear of Everything was winner of Palanquin Press’s 2000 chapbook contest. The cover references one of the poems, “Touched on the Cheek by the Tip of a Vulture’s Wing.”

Touched on the Cheek by the Tip of a Vulture’s Wing

Even the best can’t do it,

everyone told me, there’s no way

to write about grandparents

without getting sentimental.

I was thinking that again

as I turned onto the county road

from Kingsburg to Mars Bluff,

windows down, spring just hinting summer,

wild flowers blooming in the ditch–

white, purple, gold–my grandmother

gone for a half a year now.

I swerved slightly to miss

a `possum crumpled on the asphalt

when a rack of feathers,

big as a child, exploded

across my windshield

and circled back to the corpse,

so hungry for death

life itself was worth the risk.