thinking outside the box

two days ago
she woke up inside this box
7 feet long, roughly
brown corrugated cardboard with
tattered shipping tape trim
wisps of charcoal black down the sides
manila flaps curled by heat
faded etchings in permanent ink

squinting against an unfamiliar starlight
she looked around for the box’s owner
her name, her home
her people, their danger
lost within her fractured mind
everyone knew of the box, of course
but no one would claim it

the box’s origin now her obsession
she tread decaying asphalt
searching desperately for direction
and finding no answers by nightfall
chose to return to the box
its familiarity soothing
in an alien way

running her fingers along its contours
she was dragged under as
waves of memory hit her
flashes of purpose
cutting lengthwise along corrugation
the acrid smell of plasticizers
cardboard lapels obscuring her eyes

without surety, but with faith
she entered the box again
brushing against scraps of tape
copper hands grasping for manila flaps
pulling them over herself
as she became irresistibly drowsy
a familiar light enveloped her

two days later
she woke up in this bed
7 feet long, roughly
mattress of unknown material
her squinting eyes greeted with
an elegiac montage of smiling faces
voices insisting this is your home
but the starlight is still unfamiliar

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