Survival Guide for the Girl Trying to Avoid Capture

Be steady. Walk as if you are going somewhere, and you are.
This is the season of earth drain, of all things bare

and pleading. Wear grey. You will blend in
with the deer who are also quiet.

Be mute. Feign speechlessness.
When they question you, only gesture.

Of course this means you can’t cry out
when the baby comes, when the knife

slips red on your thumb. Cross the river
at its narrowest, when the ice is new.

They will be too cautious to follow.
So will their spies.

Carry in one arm a book,
in the other a child, supple legs dangling

down your thigh. They will think
you’re far too young to be a mother.

Travel at night or just before
dawn. Let the darkness wear you,

let the child dream hot against your neck
as you thread yourself through

an orchard’s thin gate seeking deadfall.
They have lied to you all along.

You must eat the fruit, girl.
You will need your strength.
Molly Spencer’s recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Beloit Poetry
Journal, New England Review, Quarterly West
, and elsewhere. She’s an MFA student
at the Rainier Writing Workshop and is a teacher-in-training for California Poets
in the Schools. Molly lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. She writes
about poetry, the writing life, and parenthood at https://mollyspencer.wordpress.