We groped our way along a dark path, hoping for any shelter before
the horror found us. The roads were narrow with high walls.
Finally there was rest, we thought, in a castle on the craggy cliff.
But as the gate closed solidly behind us and the light inside dimmed,
we realized our error. Out there we had been unsafe but free.
Here we were trapped and captives of our own making. We could not get out.
There was nightly roaring, howling, and the days contained pain.
Others found a way to our prison and we were no longer alone.
We sang little songs to lift our spirits. We shared stories.
Soon enough we were comfortable and became not just inmates
but keepers of others. Soon enough we forgot about the trees and the road.
But one night you disappeared
Then I went to the front gate to scream and plead but the gate was gone—
how long had it been gone? I walked out into a forgotten world
and was overcome by leaf, and open air, and the surprise of it all.