Escape Room With Family or a Coming Out Story
You have one hour.
Your family left their mouths in the car.
You have company, you’re not alone.
You’re time in decreasing amounts, you have wasted
Twenty-three or so years
doing something without words
to describe it. Your family
is made of glass and keys. Your family
is looking for clues and not finding them.
Your family loves you so much
that they don’t want you to get out.
Your family knows you best when you
are dying so sometimes make yourself dying
so that they’ll come closer. You lay
on the floor of the room and a God voice
gives you and your family hints.
The voice says the next clue is inside
his mouth. So, they open your mouth
and find the folded piece of paper under
your tongue. They want to know why
you keep secrets and you explain
you didn’t even know it was there—
you just wanted to be the kind of family
who locks each other in rooms and climbs
out windows when they’re scared.
You have wasted thirty minutes
staring at each other. The note doesn’t
say anything—it’s like an empty tomb.
You believe in God collectively but not individually.
There is something missing. No—
there is someone missing. The family members
touch their glass fingers to a trap door.
The family members ask if you even want
to get out anymore. They assume you don’t
but you haven’t had enough time to think. What
do they mean by out? You want
picture frames with your face in them
You want door and keys spilling out of them.
Robin Gow is a trans poet and young adult author from rural Pennsylvania. They are the author of Our Lady of Perpetual Degeneracy (Tolsun Books 2020) and the chapbook Honeysuckle (Finishing Line Press 2019). Their first young adult verse novel is forthcoming with FSG and slated for Winter 2022. Their writing has appeared in Poetry, Washington Square Review, and Bellevue Literary Review among others. They are a managing editor at The Nasiona.