Library Poetry Contest
Poet: Monika Kumar, MSIV

The Beast

I am frightened of bees and wasps
And most things that sting.
I hear them near my head and my body freezes
– all rational thinking disbanded.
I collapse to the ground, face buried in my knees
in the same safety position learned in primary school.
I imagine the sensation of pain and am powerless.
Yet in truth, I have never actually been stung.
Don't worry, mother is here.
And she swoops in to protect me from my fears.

I am afraid of the depth of mortality
Cleverly hiding the harsh truth that everything does change.
That our only options are 'come' and 'go'.
I doubt myself in the pursuit to find meaningful ways to live.
I devour knowledge in order to be a better provider of care and assistance
But the possibility that my retrospective will be a flat line is harrowing
– a golden house made of bronze.
Yet in truth, I have just begun to explore what I can do.
Don't worry, mother is here.
And she swoops in to drag me from my doubts.

My mother is fearless. My mother is my champion.

But this time it is different. This time she is afraid, too.
Because there are many entities that exist
That turn the learned into fools and the most skilled into helpless children.
Any attempts to throw myself in front of this snorting bull are futile.
No matter what I try or analyze, I cannot change this course
or regain control. We are both immobilized.
And the only buzzing I hear is the fluorescent lighting,
the subdued ticking of the clock, stifled coughs and sneezes.
The fidgeting of her legs, crossed then uncrossed, is the only sign of impatience.
Turning pages of four month old magazines in the waiting room
as we do simply that – wait.