Escapee, Age Eight
Dug three feet deep in the drifted snowbank
I played Inuit and called it something else,
not knowing better than what cartoons said.
The neighbor burns batteries, they said.
He had a weird furnace and when black smoke
came out that was not just his garbage
but hundreds of batteries, and if we breathed
the air down wind we’d die. I didn’t believe it
but I was pretty sure acid rain was real,
otherwise a cartoon couldn’t tell me.
It was after dark before I heard my name
being called with irritation, not fear.
I was missed but not worried lost.
I’d planned to stay the night, avenge some
slight I’d already forgotten in the cold.
Proud enough, still, to plan my snowbank
escape and pass under the neighbor’s
battery-burning eyes as I slipped inside,
locked myself in my room so I could pretend
I’d been their all along, so inconsequential
that they hadn’t even noticed I was there.
Zebulon Huset is a teacher, writer and photographer living in San Diego. He won the Gulf Stream 2020 Summer Poetry Contest and his writing has appeared in Meridian, The Southern Review, Fence, Atlanta Review & Texas Review among others. He publishes the writing blog Notebooking Daily, edits the journals Coastal Shelf and Sparked, and recommends literary journals at TheSubmissionWizard.com.
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