What I fear

I do not fear

rejection or even failure,

for they are part of

being in the elaborate

shifts of human want and taste.


I do not fear danger,

for it is part of the unknowable

of times future or part

of what I can control and predict.


What I fear beyond all fears

is scorn: that quiet and unsaid grin

that says that you are not

good enough, that you are

a fool and a pretender,

and that you do not belong here

with all of us.


I feel that I am playing

a smiling clown

gazed at in contempt,

and that the laughter

is not out front,

like some stand-up show,

but deep instead,

and darkly told

and I am its joke indeed.


Yes, scorn quietly felt

is my chill fear that

feels as heavy as stone.