“Escape Envy” by Ace Boggess

Ace Boggess


Dreams that belonged to each of us:
unbroken spirit versus unbreakable walls.
I remember mine as vividly as leg irons:
sniffing pollen from flowers at a highway’s edge,
hiding from marshals under a mound
of brittle leaves in the garden,
eating burgers in a dead café. So,
when I heard those two guys made it out
from Clinton Correctional in New York
through a hole in the wall,
along pipes & hidden passageways,
out a manhole into the movie-like rain,
a part of me rejoiced—not the part
that knows human decency,
not the part that wants to be safe
in its discreet new life; no,
that other part that wishes itself bravado,
the visionary weighted down from years of longing.
How it must feel for them to anticipate
a soft mattress, softer arms embracing,
first sniff at sizzle-scents of steak; &
how confusing to learn the world has changed
without them (whatever world they dreamt
of escaping to). It’s there I leave them
as though putting down a paperback thriller,
not wanting to read what happens next
when truth does violence to their fantasies,
as it will, & the gray, fermented fruits
of what was believed to be freedom
squeeze sad wine into a glass
from which these men already drank before.

Poets Respond
June 14, 2015

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Ace Boggess: “I couldn’t avoid writing about the two convicts escaping from prison in New York. It hit a little too close to home.” (website)

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