Photo by Sarah Lim
Photo by Sarah Lim

By Joe Gardner

I don’t talk about you
Much to anyone
It’s not shame
More like fear.

I’m fearful to lose you.
I’m fearful I’ll fail you.
I’m fearful that my god is just cruel enough to take you.
I’m fearful that I’m just dumb enough to lose you.

And the thing about fear
Is it’s real
Just as real as a fist to the mouth
It’s powerful
It’s primal
It’s Faith

It’s the raw source of everything
It’s the raw ending of everything

You see

Fear is also Hope
Fear is also Humility
Fear is also Courage

And Fear is just a tool

If you use it right
If you wield it
And not be led by it

Otherwise it overcomes you
You become so saturated
With fear
That there’s nothing left
To fear.

That’s a bad place to be
When you don’t fear anything
Then you can’t value anything
Not even yourself

I’ve been fearful of this
Of you
My entire dirty life
You’re my greatest test
Of Fear and Faith
You’re the first
Child born of my bloodline
I’m the last
Child born of my bloodline

The doctor is amazed at how active you are
Your mother showed me the sonograms
You’re moving all over the place
Always ducking and covering
Kicking your little feet pumping your fists
You’re a Gardner
The blue collar is your birthright
I guess you’re just
Getting ready early
For what life has to give

I work these 10 and 12 hour days
In the hopes that you never have to
I walked all the hard miles
Hoping that you never
Have to wear them shoes

They always told me
That it would make sense
When I had a child of mine own

All I know for sure
Is that nothing is for sure

And I never know anymore
All these deep buried emotions
Breaking the dams and let loose like a cold flow
I catch myself out on the road
Chasing dollars and losing sense
And then all of a sudden
I’m laughing and crying at the same damn time

Tatt’d out red bearded white boy covered in scars
I look like a fucking mighty Oak Tree
That’s been struck by lightning twice
In a rain storm
Tears cutting riverbeds
Through the dirt on my face

and nothing in this life of mine
has ever prepared me for you
other than everything in my life
has led me to this path to you

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