Slipping the Collar

After the years of indifference and neglect
the partnership became a choke – chafing,
digging into the soft flesh of the neck,
cutting off the air if one attempted to stray
too far from the established boundary.

Freedom – liberation – to run free and be
the creature it was meant to be became
the single occupying thought.
There never is a right time to escape,
only the chance of opportunity.
It was taken –
freedom demanded and eventually obtained.

The partnership dissolved, the creature found only
another pattern,
another boundary,
another set of strictures just as difficult to parse and navigate.

Freedom – liberation – ha!

Clumsy, untutored, still seeking only to be itself,
stumbling along, relying on instinct as its only guide
to the unfamiliar maze out there,
lacking the tools of guile, cunning and cruelty,
unschooled in the ways of the vulpine,
the creature faltered and found itself trapped in the
vicious leghold of societal expectations.

Raising its shaggy unkempt head, it sniffed the wind
and scented sweet fresh air, a dim remembrance from
some time long past, blowing in from the west.

Wearily, slowly, almost reluctantly, the beast began
to untangle itself from the Lilliputian threads
that bound it fast,
still uncomprehending of the how
but knowing now the where.

And when the last surcingle snapped, the creature rose,
looked to the setting sun, and began its westward hejira.

© 1998, renewed 2012 Regina Coeli deWinter

Hear me read this poem.

Slipping the Collar

RC deWinter

Fairfield, United States

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Artist's Description

On running from a trap to the bewilderment of the unknown to reinvent oneself.

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