Running Away from Home

By Milton Ehrlich

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At the peak of my
I almost kill my father
who lost his soul
in the Siberian Gulag.
I plunge a fork into
his vodka-soaked thigh
and run away from home.
I get lost in the woods
and can’t find my way back,
roaming around in circles
on the edge of panic
in my clownish shoes.
I remember the rule of three
from my Eagle Scout training:
I’ll die in three hours in the cold,
three days without water,
and three weeks without food.
At night, I can see the Big Dipper
and follow the stars in the bowl
to the North Star, sure of direction
when I find moss on the north side
of a tree.
I slog through marshes,
searching for a rivulet,
running past clusters of chanterelles
I’d gathered in the past,
when I discover the brackish water
of an estuary that lead to the open sea.
I swim out to a mooring,
help myself to a sailboat,
and sail away.

– Milton Ehrlich