The Darkest Night

The Darkest Night

Uncertainty hurls cortisol and adrenalin
across the blood/brain barrier.
Ensures every jittery heartbeat pulses fight-or-flight-fight-or-flight.
Freeze. Grimace
as I unfold frightened fingers,
grasp the marker’s soft-tipped salvation,
channel runaway thoughts into calm ripples of ink,
form words to course rhythmically onto paper,
shape shadowed speculation into sentences
pound panic into paragraphs,
solidify worries—I could drown in my sleep or circus clowns
might paint your lips cyan blue by morning.

I mumble into crumpled sheets.
Name the fear!
Banish it!


How to cope with fear of the pandemic when worries about it wake me up in the middle of the night.

About the Artist

Jean Hackett,  Allegheny County
Published:  January 7, 2021