Love after Love

It starts in misery
that shifts to blankness,
to exhaustion,
and then to acceptance.
Then comes wonder,
and then there is hope.

A little hope.

Then there is doubt,
and next comes fear.
Terror.
It wraps its way around,
from the root to the tip,
a grasping bony hand
coming out of the ground
to hold you to the very spot you’re in,
so you never move any further,
never get anywhere.
The fear stays with you,
even if you break free

that once,

as though if you look down
and back
at the right angle,
at the right moment,
you’ll still see
the skeletal hand
clutching your heel.

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