Fear – Candice Louisa Daquin

Portrait of sad blond little girl sitting on the bridge at the day time

Fear for a child is very different to the adult

and exactly the same

the child inhabits another decade, in the past, another life

before they knew they were who they become

the child wets the bed because she misses her mother

who is beautiful, ethereal, slender and absent

the smell of her still lingers in green hallways and the child

will use that feeling to guide her own heart throughout life

though she doesn’t know, she never knows this is her divining rod

this child spends a lot of time alone, she is fearful before she is brave

it is not easy to be brave without mantra, bone, feather and drum

it is easy to be fearful when you are in silence and silence becomes your adopted home

this child fears the river of her teaming city swelling and rising and forming


she fears one night when she is sleeping with her toy badger, the beast river

like a fiend unleashed in eddy and swirl

will take itself from its banks in great deluge and swallow her small world

streets she is familiar with, fat doctor’s office stained with iodine and lollipops

little cinema that shows tear-jerker double-features and has sticky heavy seats

even the park and its abundance of wilting rhododendron that look like

old ladies ironing boards all blousy and overdone in contrast

to the privation of the post-war green space and its stingy little plot between tight rows of houses like dirty defiant teeth

stuck as an after thought when German bombs were dropped and enough space made

for flowers nobody liked the smell of

a great flood would creep into the modest square of her childhood, where the church

surrounded by black metal stood some 500 years, yellowed with city’s nicotine gasp

down the cobbled streets where children once thin and round-eyed played and now

they covet skateboards and watches that turn into robots, stealing each others

Ghostbusters’ t-shirts, leaving wads of gum in the hair of lopsided dolls missing arms

the water would envelop her safe home that is neither safe nor a home

since one of the three removed and did not return

her smell stayed, until it too was gone

the little girls fear is she would hear water pouring in, soft and clamouring like a bell

she would stand on her bed crying for help and nobody would come

because everyone was absent or wasn’t there to begin with

crossing off the faces in albums, one by one, until only the cover remained

rushing water would rise and rise, she would feel it first in her toes then her knees

she could not open the heavy leaded windows, she could not climb from the basement up

the entire world would be drowned and she along with it

why she was not comforted by this thought remains a mystery

but it scared her because at that time like most children

she had a life impulse, she would wriggle from weeds and slugs and slime of any pond

and gasping, crack the surface of hard water and yell for help

but this was not a pond and she had not driven her bicycle headlong through nettles and brambles when her training wheels were removed

she did not feel the soft pursed kiss of slugs attached to her little arms and legs

she felt the cold rise of river water, deeper than anything she’d ever fallen into

deeper than her bath when she played Water Babies with her toys and

small windows would mist up for her to write poems about her mother

to fade and not been seen

this river water was black and freezing, it stole the life quite from you

she flailed and thrashed, feeling it inch, higher and higher

imagining it pouring down her throat, blocking out her sight, stealing

the balance of things in one almighty gulp

and it wasn’t like The Night Kitchen where the little boy swam with fantastical creatures

making buns at midnight and doing somersaults in rising dough

she felt the pulling water at her chin, her little fingers reaching up toward the ceiling

nobody came, nobody came, the house was empty, she would drown alone

and then a sound

at first you couldn’t tell

an alarm? A voice? Her father’s voice

his arms around her, shaking her, shaking her awake

it’s okay it’s okay, you had a nightmare

she could smell his aftershave, and the scent of someone else

on his outdoor clothes and the coming of Winter and frost and the going of

her mother and the fur of her toys, protecting her and the wetness of her bed

for fear and wee

they are not so different

you piss yourself when you are scared, you wet yourself when you laugh

urine marks the spot

it was a bad dream, but the fear remained

like an unread book on her childhood shelf

she tried to prick pins into it to make it deflate, not hold any sway over her

she tried to be brave and learn to build fortresses against

dreams of drowning, losing those you love, being alone

watching them carried away by a giant wave

as the house, sterile and quiet now, emptied of life

only the sound of the kitchen clock, in the distance

soon it will be morning but she is awake

looking up at the moon through chink of curtain

imagining the streets awash, wondering what it would taste like to drown

how it would feel to lose consciousness and where you would end up

if a boat would come along and pluck, sinking children from the deluge

and if the boat would be driven by her mother, or a stranger

and if that stranger would take her faraway

to one of the lands in her books

where people seemed to be loyal and good

and toys and animals could talk

she would like that place she thinks

perhaps then she would not grow up

to spend her days pressing fear down

like hair blown around by perpetual storm

perhaps then she would live in calm

far from dark basements and swollen rivers

where little children stared at the night sky

and wished their families whole

12 thoughts on “Fear – Candice Louisa Daquin

  1. Pingback: Fear – Candice Louisa Daquin — FREE VERSE REVOLUTION – TheFeatheredSleep

  2. Pingback: Fear – Candice Louisa Daquin – Phoenix Ascended

  3. Pingback: October’s Top Contributing Writer – FREE VERSE REVOLUTION

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