I had a lot of ideas about a poem where someone couldn’t escape their past, and I wanted it to be a specific instance that triggers that person to run, but I wanted to focus on what happens after the fact, and what it would be like inside that person’s mind.
I was reading an article on Lithub about Native American poetry being about journeys, and I think that’s what triggered the idea, except instead of going start to finish like a typical story, I decided to start at the end.
He thought running away could save him,
but he had no idea the past would never
leave him alone, and his mind was a prison.
He thought he was okay, but it was just
his mind telling him he was okay;
he thought he was sad, and he was,
but it was also his mind telling him
he wasn’t ready to be happy.
So he ran; he ran where no one could
find him, where he could be a prisoner
unapologetically to his own self.
When he stopped running and settled,
the past came back roaring,
invading his thoughts and dreams,
unrelenting in its pursuit to remind him
he couldn’t escape, that he had to face
his fears and go home where he belonged.
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