This road is littered with spiky balls
The size of caltrops. They are discharges
Of unruly brackens that encroach along
The road’s edges. The razor-sharp fern
Leaves can shred to bits even the toughest
Leather, and one false step and a spiked ball
Can through shoes and flesh effortlessly.
Skin as impervious as Achilles’s or Nemean’s
Is necessary to traverse this gauntlet.
This road is not for the faint of heart,
Those easily swallowed by the snake-like
Jaws of insecurity. These jaws are able
To unhinge; even if your head is the size
Of a deer, it can fit inside insecurity’s mouth.
The key to prevent being consumed and dissolved
By body acid is to thrash about wildly—
Constantly move, never remain still.
If you do go down, do not go passively.
A. J. Hayes
Give a poet a pen