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I’m afraid to let dust settle on my window valances, dramatic gold and maroon folds that suggest opera curtains when the night comes down, dusted by a ceiling fan that runs day long, accumulating dust that multiplies and makes heavy grey snow on everything it touches. I’m afraid to let dust touch my world.

I’m afraid to keep books that they might stack and be heavy bending shelves meant for generic flower vases and porcelain knick knacks that mean nothing to grandmother now.

I’m afraid to let sand and grit accumulate beneath my heel where I drive or pine needles and leaves beneath wiper blades.

I’m afraid to let anyone in the laundromat see bloodstains on my sheets, underwear too fancy, or that I will use two dryers instead of one, selfish white chick as usual.

I’m afraid to sleep on the beach because the homeless come down here to find respite, and I do not trust anyone who sleeps on the beach but me.

I’m afraid to wash dishes at 5 in the morning because it might disturb my neighbors.

I’m afraid to tell him how I really feel because it might vindicate him, or make him worry.

I’m afraid to let go of his little hand from mine, my empty hand, watching him cross the street by himself.

I’m afraid to step out of line because I know what happens when I step out of line, and I do not want to face those losses again.

I’m afraid that my voice, my IQ and capacity, my vigor, talent, creativity, instincts, and believability will always be worth less than a man’s.

And yet, I’m not afraid to stand up each morning and walk away from the moanings I left in my bed looking for the world to tell me a story.  I’m not afraid to be ebullient with my neighbors because who the hell needs another vanilla creature?

I’m not afraid to keep going, but sometimes it is real, real hard.