“Translating Tener” by Jacqueline Jules

In English, I say
“I am afraid,”
using the verb
“to be.”
En Español,
Me tengo miedo,
using the verb,
tener “to have.”
I have fear.
If you translate literally,
ignoring the notion of idiom.
Subtle difference,
but enough to question
if fear could perhaps be
something I possess.
To leave under the bed
or carry like bricks.
Mine. Mío.
Something I could lose
if I didn’t hug it so tightly
against my chest.

Jacqueline Jules is the author of three chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum (Finishing Line Press),
Stronger Than Cleopatra (ELJ Publications), and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016
Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her work has appeared in numerous publications
including Cider Press Review, Potomac Review, Inkwell, Hospital Drive, and Imitation Fruit. She is also the
author of 40 books for young readers. Visit www.jaquelinejules.com