How to shrink the amygdala

By Victoria McArtur


Then I put that almond
full of fear, into a blender.

I strained it, made it
into milk and sucked.

Spat it back
into the teat

that gave it to me.
Shut it off there.

Told it shut up.
How many times

did I have my mouth
washed out for saying

that to my mother, 
                Shut Up

and will I ever get
the taste of her fear

clean from my
Making mouth.

To make what
Makers make

you must first set
your fear aside.

Leave it like you’ve
left the water

so many times.
Let it roll over

rocks and chip,
let it dry out

and flake off
like summer’s skin

before it's time
to get serious again.

They say all our fear
comes from a small

control center

in our brain. I've
soaked my almond

in water, sucked
in fear until it’s full.

Victoria McArtor holds an MFA from Oklahoma State University; is a former adjunct professor for the University of Tulsa; works for a luxury residential mortgage team; and is co-founder of a poetry and collaborative arts nonprofit, MUSED. To read more of McArtor’s poetry and prose, visit