Still Afraid

I remain a coward

I do not lift my hand
Or my voice
In opposition to evil
As I ought
And it is not because
My hands are full with things to give to those I love
My mouth is full of praise for them

My hand is far more full
If it can be called full in holding such a thing
With my shrunken cock
My mouth wrapped around words I speak to
Ease the silence instead of
Words worth hearing
And I hope thereby to distract myself from
The follies and the foibles and the foulness of the world
Because if I do not see them
I cannot be held to task for their address
I cannot fix what I don’t know needs fixing.

Because I have been in the world and
Seen the sullen streets where
People pretend to passers-by that
The truth is not far worse than it is
And I have heard the cries of
Women and children and men
Who weep at the unwelcome homecomings of
Those who ought to love them
But know no love but that of violence
The kiss given by the puckered foot
The hug with the back of the hand–
And I have walked by
Huddled into myself against a cold that has
Nothing to do with what the mercury says

Geoffrey B. Elliott works in recovery in the Texas Hill Country. Some of what he writes appears at


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2 thoughts on “Still Afraid

  1. Thank you for posting it; I appreciate it!

    1. Beautiful writ

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