Anna Paikert

THANATOPHOBIA: fear of death or dying

The bees were dying that summer,
the newscaster announced
and out loud, to no one, I said It’s true.

Once, a bee’s suicide mission blew up
the calloused flesh of my foot
and a friend brought me Benadryl and ice,
repeating The stinging will stop…

Weeks after, black dresses collided with
yellow sun as adults buzzed
discussing one of their own,
lines of worry etching into skin,
the presence of absence lingering.
I stood aside with the half-orphaned daughter;
feet planted, body swaying,
staring at fruit salad rotting in the heat.
I could not dislodge the stinger,
so I murmured The stinging will stop…

EREMOPHOBIA: fear of being alone

Mother Nature, we are drama queens.
Bring me rain—
I yearn for the renewal of baptism.

Running before
a hurricane, I stare
through windshields.
Drivers’ anxiety beams
brighter than headlights;
they will not protect me
from collapsing branches
and the two dogs
with waterfall tongues
and jagged rock teeth
near my knee.
They will drive home
to children/ husbands/ wives,
while I return
to girls who gossip,
boys who reject,
and an empty room.
A stranger will find my body
and family will resurrect
me with tears.
I do not fear drowning,
but please,
do not let me wash away

Anna Paikert writes fiction, essays, and poetry. Her prose has been published in Red Weather. Although she lives in Brooklyn, NY, she wishes that she lived in nature. If she were an animal in the forest, she would be an elk because she likes to roam through North America's western woodlands contemplating her next meal. Anna hopes to use creative writing to help people with different needs. Visit her website.