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Joy Harjo – I Give It Back: A Poem To Get Rid of Fear

I release you,
my beautiful and terrible fear.
I release you.
You are my beloved and hated twin

but now I don’t know you
as myself.

I release you
with all the pain
I would know
at the death
of my children.

You are not my blood
anymore.

I give you back to the soldiers
who burned down my home
beheaded my children
raped and sodomized my brothers
and sisters.

I give you back to those
who stole the food from our plates
when we were starving.

I release you, fear,
because you were born,
and I was born, with eyes
that can never close.

I release you.
I release you.
I release you.

I am not afraid to be angry
I am not afraid to rejoice
I am not afraid to be hungry
I am not afraid to be full
I am not afraid to be black
I am not afraid to be white
I am not afraid to be hated
I am not afraid to be loved
To be loved
To be loved, fear,

oh, you have choked me
but I gave you the leash.

You have gutted me
but I gave you the knife.

You have devoured me
but I laid myself across the fire.

I take myself back, fear
You are not my shadow any longer.
I won’t hold you in my hands,
in my eyes, my ears, my voice, my belly
or in my heart, my heart, my heart, my heart, my heart…

Come here, fear,
I am alive!
and you are so afraid
of dying.

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