I would be led by a trail of dead flowers
through the woods
to where I needed to be.
Red leaves dripped from the trees.
The decay crunched underfoot,
setting a pulse
as I dashed
Mud and grass thickened my soles
and the bark grazed my arms,
releasing my blood.
The mossy air grated my skin until it pricked,
but sweat trickled down my face.
Like the Ferryman, the forest asked for a toll
and I gave until I was bare.
I looked to the sky for guidance,
but the trees extended formidable arms
to shield the moon from me.
It did not matter. The scent of independence
was leading me.
I kicked rocks from my path.
I felt empty and clean.
There was a wail in my ear,
the past will always be.
And so let it be.
I bore no Orpheum desire to look back.
A fire burned in my chest, igniting the way to
that I deserved.
I wrote this a few years ago for a writing exercise - Use the words "trail of dead flowers" in a poem. I actually saw a trail of dead flowers in my office that someone had accidentally dropped. So, I took it up a few notches. Any deeper meanings to this poem? I had the image of a slave running away in my mind. However, it could apply to anyone running towards freedom (e.g., a victim of abuse). I've actually used this poem to preface a short story that I'm working on. It's inspired a totally different interpretation in a story about a mother/daughter relationship. (The characters are great, the language is real, plot builds up, and then there's no climax. Just a fizzle. Need to revisit that story and revive it though.)