Escape 1970 by Hilary Walker


Inside the straight jacket

she is constrained

last days before death

a lonely loss of freedom when needed most


I imagine her emotions,

tied up, held down,


panic spilling into every corner of her sterile camisole


inside the straight jacket

there are moments of clarity

hidden strength

a fight for recognition in a damaged brain

her precious mind soaring above forgotten reality


I imagine her frustration,

silent screams, senseless words,

curtailed breathing

a slight, petite figure bound in canvas chains


inside the straight jacket

does she fool herself

does she dream her shackles are crafted from clean white muslin,

silken handcuffs with delicate bindings

caressing her tired skin


I imagine her courage

constant in the darkness,

I imitate, emulate

hold myself still with crossed arms and false fears

it’s not the same


inside the straight jacket

she whispers a final prayer for release

a lifetime’s regret surrendering to liberation

her last words unrecorded

lost inside fragmented memories of loved ones

buried beneath the passage of time.