Pitfall

It’s always been in my nature to dig a pitfall and then entice someone

close to me into it.

I’m reminded of the time I dug many in the woods behind our house,

some more than six feet deep, and proceeded to try to catch

my family members and neighbors or anyone else who was annoying

me at the time.

Of course, I kind of dug myself in a hole there, neighbors got together,

police were called, etc.…and that was pretty much the end of that.

My jerk period had come to an end, or at least come to a temporary close.

So that now, when I think about why I did that, I can realize,

morbid as it may be,

I enjoyed putting myself on the other side of an unescapable problem

and asking myself dark questions like what would happen to you

if you fell into something where you were both, always nearby,

and yet unable to be found?

Would you be the kind of person who’d realize all you had to do was

dig your way out, or would you be the kind who gave into helplessness

and started digging at yourself until you were a kind of hole

you’d never be able to fill back?

Anyhow, horror movie that I was, I was clearly preparing for a great escape,

though when you’re 9 people just think you’re taking boy scouts

a little too far, and have parents who aren’t strict enough, which is

the perfect cover, and to be honest, I’m not sure which naivety is more

terrifying.

But these days, there’s always room for reconciliation and forgiveness,

since being a human, which is to say doomed to behave out of an innocence

that borders on pure evil, even with the best of intentions, brings with it

a call to sometimes strap myself down and refrain from say, pizza for

at least a night,

or at least until I can go two nights in a row without it, and maybe even try,

in the spirit of generosity, giving a piece to the sparrow with one eye who

climbs up my fire escape to the window in order to avoid getting further

sling-shotted or run over by my neighbors with homemade mopeds, who,

wishing to travel back in time, because everybody knows nobody’s

ever wanted to do that,

want to feel themselves turned inside out by their own hand,

or be able to go back to that 4-year-old moment in the kitchen

and be allowed to see what’s inside that breast cave in the rosemary chicken,

not because they still don’t know and still wish to out of some

unfulfilled childhood need,

but because that’s how their brain thinks when, like me when I was their age,

they simply want to be allowed to go inward, and come out when they,

and only they feel ready to, or like me now, will have to learn how to write

poems like this one that sort of enact falling into a pit and finding a way out.

Author: Chris Russell

Chris Russell holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives in Concord, New Hampshire where he follows two paths: a calling as a poet, and an altruistic vocation as an education support professional.