The 2River View 25.2 (Winter 2021)

Stan Sanvel Rubin


You think you should
be able to handle this.

It’s only one more thing.
One more challenge

among the challenges
that come so fast

you lost track long ago.
You’re not even sure

which one is here now.
Let alone what’s coming next.

They fly at you
like vampire bats in a cartoon.

Gather like the living dead,
angry crowd outside your door

making the noise
of restless wind.

They want in.
What else do they want?

They already have your brain.
They ate your heart.

last night while you were sleeping
as you seem always to be sleeping.

Otherwise, how do so many things
take you by surprise?

It’s really something
you’re supposed to be able to handle

by now, better than this.
But, face it,

there have been too many.
There will be more.


Keeps you from fear
but also shows you’re afraid.

Keeps you from facing
what you’re afraid of,

which sounds complicated
but is remarkably simple

if you bother to look at it.
If you have a flashlight.

When you get there
where fear is

at the bottom of everything

you think you built from scratch
and can’t afford

to lose,
you will find

fear was there all the time.
The thing

that keeps everything else
from collapsing

the way you always fear
it will.

Stan Sanvel Rubin has had poems in Agni, Georgia Review, and Poetry Northwest. His most recent book is There. Here (Lost Horse Press).

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