Written by Melissa Lemay

This will be the last time I watch you walk off hurriedly
into the night to hopefully find Frank White on a street corner near the square.
The historical signs prohibiting multiple times around the block after 10pm are still posted.
This is the life you chose for yourself, and you’re trapped
in it now, and I’m trapped with you in a prison.
I don’t know if you’ll ever break free.

You think to yourself “nothing in life is free,
everything costs something,” while you’re under a streetlight in an alley, and you search for a vein hurriedly.
You’re praying to be momentarily freed from this self imposed prison.
When you were in high school they thought you were a square.
No one cares about other people’s thoughts in this trap
where another young kid is posted

up every night. It’s only been a couple weeks since you posted
bail, and your mom is wishing that everything in life was free.
She took out loans to pay for motels since you had nowhere to go, and now she is trapped
financially. She flips through her checkbook hurriedly,
trying to find the mathematical error in one of the small squares
on the register, pulling out receipts imprisoned

in her wallet, kept there as if on death row in a federal prison,
last meals of steak and lobster written on Post-it
notes in the kitchen near the big, square
industrial sinks. Is any one of us really free?
We all have some limiting belief system imposed on us during our hurried
childhoods. It was already too late. We were trapped

before we were born into this life, with all the societal trappings
that kept us locked in self-fulfilling prophecies and imprisoned
in stories and destinies we acted out and reenacted hurriedly,
before the mail came, stuffed into post
office boxes; unwanted letters in between mailers and other free
advertisements on postcards and flyers, rectangles and squares.

I was hopeful after the first time you were ever in treatment, I hoped everything had been squared
away. That was years ago, and ever since I’ve been trapped
in some eery plot from an episode of Twilight Zone, worse off, on one of those free
television channels, where fourth rate shows go to die in prison,
the kind of shows that weren’t ever famous enough to make it onto a poster
to be taped onto a wall in your teenage bedroom and later torn down hurriedly.

Your first hit was free, in that blue wax paper bag folded up into a square
and stuffed hurriedly into plastic and trapped,
waterproofed and imprisoned, waiting for money to be posted.


Text © Melissa Lemay



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