Flying at Forty


This poem is me, minus two marriages. 

Fear is still my element, my contagion. And I'm swimming in it, not giving in, not giving up. Anxiety is my bedmate, he who wakes me up in the middle of the night, demanding my attention. Tremors and palpitations I live with. 

You will see me furiously and frantically fumbling through my purse for my beta blockers, five minutes before a client call. And you will see me laugh and talk and deliver. Because that is what I do best, tremors and all. Laugh and talk and deliver.

I used to fear forty. But flying isn't so bad after all.

Flying at Forty


You call me
courageous,
I who grew up
gnawing on books,
as some kids
gnaw
on bubble gum,

who married disastrously
not once
but three times,
yet have a lovely daughter
I would not undo
for all the dope
in California.

Fear was my element,
fear my contagion.
I swam in it
till I became
immune.
The plane takes off
& I laugh aloud.
Call me courageous.
I am still alive.


© Erica Mann Jong

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