In the Realm of Fear

I whisper, Heal us, heal us
hope my words find a prayer,
imagine it rising like mist—
how easy it used to be as a child.
The ritual of bended knees, my head leaning
on tethered palms against my bed, and what
had I said—some small song
to the celestial back then?

That was before the angels
saved me on the dark corridor
of highway, before the acres
of pain, before the table
of contents and knowing the end
of the story, how I wanted to shout,
Why do we have to die?

I remember flying in a thunderstorm—
the other passengers slept or read
while I was desperate to hold
hands with a stranger in the dark
disturbance, barnacle myself
to another to keep us whole.


Click here to read Sarah Dickenson Snyder on the origin of the poem.

Image: “Airplane in thunderstorm” by Dennis Koski, licensed under CC 2.0.

Sarah Dickenson Snyder:
This has been a long stretch of keeping fear and anxiety at bay—the political environment for the past four years, the past twelve months of quarantining, and the desperate need for equality. How everything seems lined in frightening possibilities, just gathering food, seeing my sister and her family from across a fire pit, and everyone I love in small rectangles on my computer screen. I have been sending out small prayers to a god I’m not sure of. This poem came from that dark, deep well and the need for healing in so many ways, how touching someone can be a mooring.

Sarah Dickenson Snyder
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