Dark works its way into the house, my life.
It turns on its lamp, using my hand.
Leases my thoughts for several hours.
Rents out my peace of mind

to panic.

It seems I’m under contract
to write out my fears.
It requires no signature,
only blood.
Here is the pen,
a sheet of paper,
the words provided by the dark to illuminate
just how short
I fall
of redemption.

My fingers grip tight around the pen,
as if fearing to let something
unclench its jaws.

And this is where you, reader, can choose not to look.
As I ready to let it all out on paper.

First, cover your mouth, or close your eyes.

My wrists will be
the last to open.

DSC04186 (2)Kevin Irie is a Japanese-Canadian poet whose poetry has appeared in Canada, England, the States, and Australia, and been translated into Spanish, French, and Japanese. His book, Angel Blood: The Tess Poems (Frontenac House, 2004) was nominated for the ReLit Award. His book, Viewing Tom Tomson: A Minority Report (Frontenac House, 2012), was a finalist for the Acorn-Plantos People’s Poetry Award and the Toronto Book Award. “Night Fear” is part of his new book, The Tantramar Re-Vision (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2021) which was picked by the CBC as one of the Spring Poetry Books for 2021 and by Quill and Quire Magazine as part of its 2021 Summer Reading Guide. He lives in Toronto.

This poem was originally published in Vallum issue 16:2 Fear.

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