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Escape


by Henry E. Powderly II


If we were the size of crabapples
we’d cut our clothes from maple leaves,
then laugh, in our green overalls, at the
slow caterpillars who chase us,
wanting to snack on our pant legs.

In the evening, you'd pluck a flower from the hosta
for a dress. The tips brush the branch we’d sit on
to watch the night’s lights,
the fireflies that glow like fireworks
in brilliant silence.

In the morning, we’d run through the dewy grass
to bathe before the sun dissolves the soap.
While our friend, the mockingbird, wakes
the blue jays, sparrows and wrens.
Then we’d swing on saplings,
through the cool morning wind,
until our thews are dry.

To drink, we’d burst a black raspberry
and slurp the sweet ink, dyeing our arms
and smiles and skin the color of the
old brick in the grass that’s chipped and
sleeping like a monument in our
giant world. Then we’d
climb it and holler at the clouds.

We’d shake long dandelions at our attackers,
the yellow-striped wasps that angered
when we painted their paper home
with raspberry ink and buttercups.
Or the bumblebee we startled when he
found us sleeping inside of the
trumpet flowers.

No spider would snare you to drink you,
I’d steal his silk to weave us sweaters.
No bat would carry you off, I’d tell the owls
where to find him first.
No ant would drag you to its caves,
I’d pelt him with bits of gravel,
cracking his armor.

And the rain wouldn’t drown us,
I’d weave a raft from tall grass and
fallen twigs and float us through the forest,
where we’d find the great pine, and climb to the top,
to wait out the storm.
Later we’d tie loose feathers left in the hawk’s nest
to our backs, and fly the hot winds
to the ocean for a swim.
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