A Guide to Getting Away


It should begin with your feet: one morning
take a path you’ve just now seen. Instead
of putting out seed for the birds
or doing the dishes before you leave
you take off down the street, not in the direction
of your job at the university.
You won’t go to work. The farther you go
the further you get from who you were years ago:
an amateur astronomer, an after-school swimmer
at the YMCA. A part-time clarinet tutor. A scraper
of chipped paint near scorching driveways.
A chaser of basketballs that dribbled away and landed
in patches of gravel or slowed near hedges of boxwood.
Before long, you move through the jobs you hated:
Cloud-like, they won’t hurt you. You’re passing
through and life begins to detach itself. Every footstep
erases a year until you feel as though you’ve landed
on a new continent and your past is nowhere
to be found. When you finally stop, you’re older.
You try to remember where you’d wanted to go
but the road to those plans faded years ago.
You look back, searching for something you recognize
but you’ve traveled too far. The landmarks are gone
and you’re alone with a night sky that’s dark with no stars.