I knew she wanted to shame me 
when she asked about my greatest fear. 
I first thought of a small cage, thick bars, 
locked door, but I knew there had to be a key. 
I then thought of a cell, thick bars, locked door, 
and I knew the same was true. 

A lock means a key, 
a key creates opportunity, 
an opportunity to escape 
into a room inside a building, 
a building with an exit. 

The thought of an exit quells my fear 
because there’s always a door or window 
or hallway outlined in red in case of emergency, 
like the flashing pulse of a lighthouse 
where the windows are stained cherry 
and sailors are lured to a safe harbor. 

I then thought about a room with plain stone walls, 
floor, and ceiling, seamless and dense, buried under the earth 
deep enough to be warmed, but not cracked, by the magma. 
A room suspended in time where I am trapped in solitude, in silence, 
without any means of escape. No door. No lock. No key. No exit. 

I thought about this space, and I said to her, 
“To be trapped in an endless existence 
without the ability to grow or heal, an existence 
where my future is a repetition of my past, and 
all of my injuries repeat until I am nothing 
but the damage done to me.”