I don’t recall what final unfairness
made me pack to run away, whether it was
fall or spring. Either matched my haste.
Everything I needed fit into a pillowcase.
I had read about hobos, stuffed bandanas
on a stick, jackets lined with grass for warmth.
I knew what I was doing. My cousin
had taught me how to whistle.
I was crying, though; I remember that.
It’s so much harder to cry now
unless I see someone dear overwhelmed,
especially a man. I suffer a diminished
capacity to drag a dirty pillowcase
through a ditch. At the border, staring toward
the railroad tracks, into the immensity,
my mother found me and ordered me back
to the house. A little relieved, I obeyed.
I’ve always come home, or
wanted to. I’ve always been easy to convince,
given the least kindness.