Poetry by Richard Fein • Photo by Sunny Williams

Memories of Fear and Love

Terror is hardwired into every brain.
It runs below the floorboards of each mind.
But connections of love are strung high,
all the way up to the neocortex.
Fear explodes from the reptilian brain
faster than the perturbed heart quickens its beat
or the skin oozes its first drop of cold sweat.
Nature fostered fear first,
and made it the founding father of emotions.
Love has a shorter pedigree
and must be programmed by parenthood.
The newborn fawn needs no actual memory of wolf
to freeze when first seeing one,
but the doe must recall her own fur being licked
to lick her newborn's fur.

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