Everybody’s Got Something to Hide


I’ve watched them all
I’ve cataloged the fears
Jane was afraid of greeting cards
Ann was afraid of antique furniture
Liz? She was afraid of even numbers
Kate was afraid of peace — but I’m not afraid of anything
I’m not afraid to die
(as long as it’s not by blunt-force trauma or anything to do with flames)
I’m not afraid of the moon or the government or the color of your skin
Rob was afraid of everything
Steve was afraid of himself
Jackson? He was afraid of me
Matty was afraid of getting old — but I’m not afraid of anything
I’m not afraid of signs of the time or The End
(as long as it’s fast, justified, and relentless)
I’m not afraid of the weather or the bomb or the bed I’ve already made
Sue was afraid of counting chromosomes
Michelle was afraid of all of you 
Deb? She was afraid of disciplining dogs
Allie was afraid of black balloons — but I’m not afraid of anything
I’m not afraid of life, even when it kicks me in the teeth
I wipe my hands across my lips, I smile, I ask is that the best you’ve got?


Al Kratz is a writer from Des Moines, Iowa, a reader for Wyvern Lit, and is currently working on a novel and a short story collection. He has had work featured in Red Savina Review, Wyvern Lit, Third Point Press, Daily Palette, Apeiron Review, Corvus Review, Gravel, Literary Orphans, 1000words, and elsewhere. He is the winner of the 2013 British Fantasy Society Flash Fiction Competition.


Poem originally published on 4/18/15