Ace Boggess

What Does It Mean To Escape?

[psychology questionaire]

I’ve waited so long to introduce my father &
the camper top above the bed of his pickup truck.
A smaller model with cot & toilet, enough
for a man to survive nights without really living them—
he carried it every morning to work at the chemical plant &
weekends to the grocer’s or cinema. I would see it
rising like a metal ostrich head above cars parked in the lot
of a comic-book shop when I came out
gripping the latest Ghost Rider or Amazing
Spider-Man. He described it as his escape hatch,
his ticket to anywhere. Should days of ritual
punch until his face tracked with bruises of gray,
he could leave any time he wanted
like a turtle dragging his home on his back,
go wherever a foot on the gas decreed.
When too much became too much for him,
he’d jump away to a life the opposite of his life,
although he never did. The option was enough
like an extinguisher hanging on a far wall,
gathering layers of dust in absence of fire.


Ace Boggess is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003). Forthcoming are his novel, A Song Without a Melody (Hyperborea Publishing), and a third poetry collection, Ultra-Deep Field (Brick Road). His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.