Rule Yourself First


Once you have been properly imprisoned
you can make friends with the rats,
get yourself elected governor of the cell,
rule your domain.

Take your time to feel the cold stones
beneath you, mark the time
with hoarded chalk,
relax into your shackles.

Had you been a sailor,
you would be able to pull apart
any knot, no matter how complex.
If you had chosen a life as a circus clown
your reward would have been laughter
instead of tears.

You now have time to spend
thinking of betrayal,
and the quicksand under the bed.

Even worse than the punishment
is the snare, the trap, the decoy,
or the plainclothes officer
posing as a friend.

If you are able to imagine
that not every net is a snare,
you will be free enough to fly.

©2014 Christopher Reilley

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