by Ellen Bass
This is where I yank the old roots from my chest,
like the tomatoes we let grow until December, stalks thick as saplings.
This is the moment when ancient fears race like thoroughbreds,
asking for more and more rein and I the driver for some reason
they know nothing of, strain to hold them back.
Terror grips me like a virus and I sweat,
fevered, trying to burn it out.
This fear is invisible, all you can see is a woman going about
her ordinary day, drinking tea, taking herself to the movies,
reading in bed.
If victorious, I will look exactly the same
yet I am hoisting a car
from mud ruts half a century deep. I am hacking a clearing
through the fallen slash of my heart.
Without laser precision, with only the primitive knife of need,
I cut and splice the circuitry of my brain.