Robin Gow
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.