Escape Artist – A Poem by Catherine Zickgraf

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Submitted by Catherine Zickgraf

Her shadow in the lamplights carried an air
mattress across the street, down to the creek
moving under the bridge arch. She escaped
home nightly retracing her dream when she
was twelve years old. She’d slide a sunken

bank, wade in moon shivers, muddying her
jeans among milkweeds. Wet, she’d sit raft-
balanced, alive, excited for exiting outdoors
past the shore, skimming the depths of leafy
shallows. Poles holding their glow over the

road lost sight of her. Sky dimmed darker,
still she saw what she’d imagined. Laying
down her body like a burial, she floated on
the basin surface where ripples scraped out
creek floor. Yet she was not without vision

though caved in those starless cement walls.
The unknown lured her forward, fueling joy
into adventure and helping her learn why she
was made. Unworried she’d row backwards,
she feared instead the dawn when she’d head

home to be sewn into a silencing suffocation,
blinded by regular interrogation, still lacking
the years to understand she night-fled to find
a salvation. Now she’s grown and she knows
a powerful Hand had made sure she survived.


About the Poet

Catherine Zickgraf’s main jobs are to hang out with her family and write poetry. Her work has appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, PankVictorian Violet Press and The Grief Diaries. Her recent chapbook, Soul Full of Eye, is published through Aldrich Press. Read and watch her here.


Painting: ‘Children in the Woods – Ivan Kramskoi

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