He was never able to risk rejection.
His hand would freeze
dialing a girl’s phone number.
Traffic of nerves jammed all intersections.
Even an emergency vehicle carrying him
to receive necessary Oxygen of Fresh Life
could not get through anxiety’s clogged highways.
Everything seemed to take a detour
back to that room, that day, with mother.
And now that it was all long done,
now that he could even look back
on efforts spun out over adult decades,
he still threw up his hands.
Effort had never been able to break that deadlock.
It was like a fairy tale in which, when the hero
gets stronger, the monster does, too.
Yes, the things he'd shrunk from reaching out for
had finally come to him, in other ways.
There was magic in that, too.
Still, he wondered, sometimes,
if it was really the same.