By Lee Ann Dalton
I left, not looking back. I was afraid.
I left the things he bought me, just in case.
I had to close my eyes to find the road.
I carried names and numbers, tucked inside
a pocket in my purse, and not much else
to leave and not look back. I was afraid
of corners, entryways, store windows, hid
and dodged whole neighborhoods, memory’s curse.
I had to close my eyes to feel the road.
Nights, phone off, lights on, I stood guard
on the balcony, wrapped in please. Worse
than leaving, is not looking back. I was afraid
he’d come slash my tires, stage his suicide
or mine, since I refused to witness his.
Sometimes I closed my eyes to see the road.
I’m still ashamed to say how much I lied
to make him step away, give me the keys
so I could leave, not look back though I was afraid.
I closed my eyes to walk the open road.
Lee Ann Dalton is a poet, fiction writer, fiber arts columnist, LGBTQIA+ youth advocate, and K-8 public school ESOL teacher. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Vermont College. Her work has appeared in Cagibi, Sugar House Review, Hunger Mountain, New Ohio Review, Stoneboat, and elsewhere. She lives in southern New Hampshire with her husband Justin Kane, their daughter, three cats, and about 20,000 bees. You can follow her on Instagram @Lee_Ann_Dalton.