I found the place 
where fear begins; it was

down in the basement
behind the hot water heater
where I spent my early years 
listening to spiders strum their webs 
like sad ukeleles, and sing
love songs sweet enough to woo
the shyest and most prudish
of flies.


I pulled a rock
from the cellar wall
and saw the pale worm, there, 
that is born when you are born 
then crawls toward you
across the entire length
of your life

and the fear blew out
from that hole in the wall, 
softly, at first,
then gathered power
and roared through my blood
like a long freight pulling out 
into the night


and I swung onto that train,
a small hobo with no destination; 
now twenty-five years later,
here I am.