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  • Rachel Linton

Poetry: Exit Strategy

By Rachel Linton

Photo by Diego Jimenez via Upsplash.


When I think about erasure, I think of the highway.


I have an exit strategy--it never hurts to plan

for the worst-case, last-case scenario. I think

everyone should. It’s allowed to be crazy,

allowed to be a little dangerous, one step above

time travel. It’s the thing you’ll never do

in this lifetime. Shake clear the Etch-a-Sketch.

How-to-disappear-completely. Your first

and last magic trick.


Here’s mine: I’ll drive east into the desert. When I hit

that long stretch of highway (extraterrestrial) that runs

north through Nevada, nowhere to nowhere, I’ll stop

at every little town along the way. I’ll ask if they need

a barista, if they need a waitress, if they need a clerk

at the convenience store, if nowhere can take one

more nobody. I’ll tell them a different name. I’ll find

a place hovering in between the sky and the desert

and let it eat everything I’ve ever been.

I’ll feed it the past,

piece by piece.


All I’m saying is that if it all feels really

truly over, you can always count

on the Delorean. Maybe you don’t need it;

probably you don’t need it. I don’t know the exact

percentage of people who have ever wished

to scrub everything they’ve ever been

off the earth, ever felt like maybe there would be nothing

left at the end of the drive. But if you have


a greyhound ticket, a destination in mind,

and a name that could be someone else

there’s always one road out of town.

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