Not the sense of standing alone
in front of a microphone,
but the adjustments of playing along
with a more experienced band.
Not the fear of representing
an establishment, but of representing it badly,
of being inundated and then shipped home.
The scallops whose breathing
tubes pop up
above the receding salt water,
through the overlaps of sand.
The fear you’ll sink like a skipped stone.
The past, as it grows
away from you, is thickening.
The young reader in the too-often-washed
Avengers T-shirt with the collar cut out had asked
“How do you deal with the fear of existing?”
The insubstantial feeling
that came to you then, the vertigo,
and the quickening.