You Are Safe, While You Are Not Safe. {poetry}


I forget my turn on the drive to work,
ghosts of old conversations with you

fluttering through my mind.
I become a ghost myself,

dissociating from the corporate world
more each day despite my wish to survive,

even if only for the sake of my art.
My poems are my mark on the world.

They say, “Holley was here,
even though there were times

she desperately wished
she wasn’t.”

I am half a mile past the turn when
my mind registers a Sunoco,

foreign, not part of day-to-day life.
Your ghost stays with me,

a constant but lovely fog interrupted by reality.
Upon my realization, a split second of inner debate occurs.

Perhaps it is not even a split second;
there is a sense that my choice was already made,

the imprint of it already on the Universe.
It is a map that demands to be followed.

There was never anything to think about.
There has always only been my inner knowing.

There has always only been following
that knowing, or festering

in the decisions that other people
have knowingly or unknowingly made for me.

I keep driving,
allowing the steady pull of the unknown

to carry me away from suburban stagnation.
This is what loving you is like.

I don’t know where I am going,
but it’s going to be different there.

I can always choose
to go back toward safety,

ignore the steady pull of the unknown
and be someone I am not supposed to be,

so that people will look at me and think
I am responsible and sensible.

They will think
I am appropriate.

Nothing about me will be offensive, or triggering,
and I will earn their stamp of approval.

They will see me in my golden cage
and tell me how well I am doing

while my mind beats against the bars of its prison
long after my heart has given up.

That is what I find when I turn at
the sign marked “To Safety.”

You are safe, but in a different way.
You are safe, while you are not safe.

I feel breathless as I jump
from cliff to cliff to find you.

If not a cliff, a dark and narrow tunnel,
like the ones that smell of urine in Los Angeles.

Whatever the circumstances,
I would have it no other way.

You have strong shoulders.
You have the prettiest heart I have ever seen.

You have inspired more tears than any man, but
my tears have songs inside them.

You and I have been in crowded rooms, fully clothed,
and still shared more intimacy

than I have with any man
who has been naked in my bed.

This is about more than you and me,
as much as it is about you and me.

This love is not meant for cages.
Is it love if you aren’t really free?

Certain restless hearts think of home as the open road.
Some think of it as a person.

Maybe for me,
it’s a little of both.


Heidi Hendricks has called many places home throughout her life, but currently lives in Rochester, New York. Her work has been published in Adelaide and Buck Off Magazine. She is passionate about writing (obviously), music, and healing. It was only a year ago that she began to start sharing her writing with the world, but now that she’s started, she isn’t going to stop. You can find her on her blog.


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