When I was an early teen
we lived on the 13th floor
in the Lillian Wald houses
on Avenue D in New York City.

Ma sent me to the store
for Taystee or Wonder Bread.
“Don’t forget the receipt.”
OK ma.

The elevators, both odd and even,
didn’t work or were very slow.
I’d leap down the stairs,
3, 4 or 5 steps at a time.

I don’t remember when or why
shadowy death began following me,
always staying just far enough behind
that when I stopped, It stopped.

I became fear full of It,
of using both elevator and stairs,
(for how long I do not remember)
and then it happened.

That afternoon was “Go get the bread and milk” day.
The only option was the stairs.
I pushed open the green hallway door.
With my heart pounding, I started down.

At the 5th floor landing I stopped and turned.
Just did, and can’t answer why!
Darkness passed around and through, me
feeling no joy, no peace, no fear, no thing.

It never appeared again. Not there again.
It is masked, stealth full and highly evolved.
It is able to stay shadowed and send shivers. 
I push It away, almost every day, even as It is me.

Can you imagine that? Me running from me?
Folks will say, “There are valid fears to run from”.
When that hungry tiger is right on my heels, 
being Me is not the same as being Free.