Olivia Cook

You Live in Fear

Days you live in fear you’ve spent rehearsing an enumeration: those who got away, first, then the others administered to witness protection programs upstate (for reasons that remain unclear, except that there were hostages). Memorizing means what you are feeling is too familiar.  What consumes us, plays with fire? The answer is a kind of animal resisting. You fix the furniture so it appears you have been a good accomplice. The music overhead plays in no recognizable language. Breakfast suggests it’s either time of day. You think eventually the birds will admit to morning, and the bells will be a prayer, and the faint ringing from a church will remind you awake. 

Enter through the stairs 


the century, the maze in Plaza Center. 

The red tracks in the street 

the onlookers circle all night 

is where they dragged her.

You can’t call it prison if you wanted to be here.

Terror is the thing that happens

when fear ceases to exist,

to those who terrorize, I mean. 

I’ll start from the beginning:

The Pleasure Center opens for business 

to the untreatable by any known therapies. 

The illness: you worry you are missing

your most powerful weapons. 

Is every rare case a catastrophe? Is every violence 

a tripping point? Are all politics 

just theatrics? Primal emotions

are intrinsic and related to sex, says the cleft

the dopamine passes on its way to Check-In.

The equation is a room to hold your wings.