This poem was inspired by the escapist fantasies I had when I was a child (and still have sometimes).
One day that summer I decided to run away.
I had no plans or provisions.
I just decided, while walking in the woods,
to live there instead of home.
At the edge of wood and field
grew a thick hedge of blackberries
to sustain and hide me.
I would drink from the creek.
I went back to pilfer my father’s shovel.
I would dig a deep, wide hole
and line it with leaves and reeds.
The hidden roof would be thatched grass.
My parents would walk by saying
Have you seen my daughter? Where did she go?
I would hear them from where I hid,
living in secret beneath their feet.
Years after I disappeared
rumors would start to go around
about a long-haired brown-skinned wild girl
someone glimpsed in the woods.
I dug a hole three feet deep,
two feet wide, four feet long.
The deeper I went, the harder the ground.
My arms ached as I soldiered on.
But somehow my cozy hidden house
began to look like a grave
as the sun went down.
The refreshing breeze turned chilly.
I wondered how long it had been since I left home.
What was my family having for dinner?
Who would my cat curl against tonight?
How did my book end?
After sundown I walked home,
head down, a dirty, sweaty failure
dragging my father’s shovel.
I didn’t bother to fill in the hole.
However long I was gone,
no one missed me.
I never told them how close they came
to losing me for good.