By Michael W. Raley
I have gone too far to turn back,
But I am too paralyzed to go forward.
Stuck in the mud that feels like wet, drying concrete.
As I try to lift my legs,
The burdens on my shoulders are making me sink further down.
My chest tightens from anxiety,
But I refuse to be broken.
I see it! A fallen branch.
If I could just get there.
This is not how it will end.
I muster the strength to pull up my left leg.
There goes a shoe.
I pull up my right leg,
There goes the other shoe.
I drudge forward with all I have,
Willing my way through the muck and mire
Until I grab a hold of the branch
And pull myself up out of the mud.
I use the branch as a balance beam and slowly
Make my way over my former prison.
I am covered in filth but free and unstuck.