Ron Burch




Do Not Be Afraid

Above you, in the sky, a mockingbird attacks a hawk who has flown too near its nest.  The hawk soars up, followed by the mockingbird who taps it again and again, as if to choose a new direction for the hawk until the hawk eventually disappears into the sky and the mockingbird returns to his tree.

Do not be afraid no matter what they say.  Take it one day at a time is what you’ve heard. No matter what the chest x-rays look like, no matter how the doctor stares and awkwardly clears his throat. Do not be afraid of the doctor’s waiting room, its worn furniture of mismatching colors, its frayed magazines that you do not give a shit about.  Do not be afraid.  It may be something, it may be nothing.

Do not be afraid of the woman in your home.  She loves you and means you no harm. That is why you are afraid. You don’t know if you can be in love anymore.  You do not know if you understand a woman who doesn’t mean you harm.

It flutters nearby, alighting on the adjoining chair.

Do not be afraid of your job any longer.  They withhold things, things that are meaningful in a business employment way.  They keep the titles from you to keep you hanging on.  They do not promise you a future raise, a future office, or even future employment.  They hope this fear will keep you complicit, tame, and on your back, your arms and legs stretched apart, showing an exposed, and vulnerable, belly just waiting for a kind rub.

Do not be afraid of the world around you.  Yes, it is terrible and you don’t understand it. Few do.  But the fear is used to push you one way or the other. To trap you in your little blue house and its tiny yard, afraid of those who walk out front so you only peek when you hear the voices.

The mockingbird sits in the yard.  Waiting.

You do not.





Ron Burch‘s short stories have been published, in print and online, in Mississippi Review, Eleven Eleven, Pank and others.  He’s been nominated for a Pushcart, and his first novel, Bliss Inc., was published by BlazeVOX Books.  Please visit:

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