You Don’t Have To Be Afraid

by | Aug 15, 2023 | Poetry

Sliced French Bread

You can choose not to be afraid
the way grass grows from its center out
after every mowing,
in rain after long drought.
You, too, re-emerge
as from the small green fire in those close cells,
even in their lying down under the snow,
even under their dying.

Someone will always be handing you
their luggage of rage and despair,
their glasses with the lenses painted over,
their one-way ticket to doubt
if you put your hand out for it,
if you can’t stand still and set it down.

So sit down at the oak table.
Let your dread take the opposite chair.
Pour the coffee. Break and share the bread and salt.
Behind the two of you, past the open window
light is going about its business
raising up the new leaves, rinsing them in its fuel of delight,
whether or not you can believe you might be saved
or anything be liable to salvage.

If you muster courage, even as much
as one small grass-blade in ten thousand
brandishing its single drop of dew
for the sun’s transmutation,
it will be enough.
This is how love works.
It will bring you through.

Photo by Martin Delisle, used and adapted under CC.

About The Author


A much-published bi-national immigrant, gardener, Bonsai-grower, painter, Phillips grew up in upstate N.Y. and has lived in New England, London, New Mexico, St.Louis, Rhode Island, & now Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Her chapbooks: Sitting Safe In the Theatre of Electricity (, 2020) and A Song of Ascents (Orchard Street Press, 2022).