Below is Jan Pettit’s wonderful poem “Fear Hierarchy” printed in its entirety.
1. Fear of the dark Under the bed. Inside the closet. Between leap and landing (floor to bed). (Related) Long arm reaching out from under bed. 2. Fear of separation Lost in a crowd (accidental). Lost in a crowd (on purpose). Lost in the woods (either). 3. Fear of abandonment Parents dying. Parents divorcing. One parent moving. Parents remarrying. 4. Fear of wicked stepparent 5. Fear of pee accidents In school. In bed. In friend’s bed. 6. Fear of bras Needing one. Not needing one. Anyone looking closely enough to know. 7. Fear of menstrual period Getting it. Not getting it. Surprise attack. 8. Fear of embarrassment Wrong clothes. Wrong hair. Wrong glasses. Wrong body. Wrong mother. 9. Fear of Getting Pregnant 10. Fear of rejection By friends. By boyfriend. By colleges. 11. Fear of being found out 12. Fear of not getting work Not paying student loans. Not paying bills. 13. Fear of selling out Deserting dreams. Embracing capitalism. 14. Fear of the dark (continued) Parking lots at night. Deserted streets at night. Apartments at night. Houses at night. Bedrooms at night. 15. Fear of rejection (continued) By lovers. By bosses. By friends. 16. Fear of being unloved 17. Fear of being unlovable 18. Fear of having married the wrong person 19. Fear of not getting pregnant 20. Fear of mortality Parents’ mortality. Spouse’s mortality. Signs of mortality. Cancer. 21. Fear of childbirth 22. Fear of losing a child To crib death. To falling down stairs. To a head injury. To bathtub. To a bicycle accident. To a car accident. To a playground accident. To a freak accident. To pneumonia. To cancer. To a thousand kinds of cancer. To a pedophile. To a kidnapper. To a babysitter. To a stranger. To a tick bite. To a bad heart. To thin ice. To a swimming pool. To falling rocks. To drugs. To gun violence. To poor judgment. To sport. To a dare. To driving. To driving drunk. To heartbreak. To childbirth.