In times like this, it’s easy for us to want to ride off on a train somewhere, to escape. That’s normal. Who wants to be living this reality? There are some perks, but overall, probably no one. The pandemic limits our ability to see loved ones, to go do fun things, and to hang out in public places, like restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and enjoy other people and environments. We fear each other, we fear closeness and yet we also need it.

Many of us plan our escape and that escape can come in many different forms. Some of us online shop. Others of us browse houses on Zillow or pets and garage sales on Craigslist. Some of us plan actual train trips or other travel or plan to move. Some visit online museums or binge watch every TV drama out there.

What do you do when you want an escape of sorts. What do you dream of? What do you shop for? What vacations do you plan? Where or How do you explore?

When we want to escape, sometimes there is fear involved, maybe one we don’t want to face. Maybe you don’t identify it as a fear exactly, but as an uncomfortable feeling or even a worry or concern you don’t quite want to hang with. This is normal. And so human. We say: I don’t like this feeling, this place, this scene I’m in, I want to be somewhere else. Hmmm… How can I make that happen?

(Just a side note, if you are actually in danger from violence, please reach out to someone who can help you escape. This exercise is more meant to help us work with our emotional fears and anxieties than it is with actual danger from violence).

I want us to write a poem today. Of course, you are always welcome to write whatever you want and the point is to write and to use writing as a tool to keep us mentally emotionally healthy. So, whatever you do, write and enjoy. But if you are so inclined, try to write a poem.


First, write down three fears/worries/concerns you have right now. If you have more than three, you are welcome to write them all down, but let’s not dwell on them- there’s no point. Leave a blank line between each one and the last one write as a question.

Next, write:

where you escape to. Maybe it’s Dillards to the online shoe department. Maybe it’s the pound to look at dogs. Maybe it’s a country you have always wanted to visit. In between the worries, write down where you go, if there is room, you can add an additional detail. What do you notice in that place? You can be escaping online, but in your writing, you can imagine being in that actual place, as if you were going there.

Here’s an example I wrote. Write your own poem about what’s going on with you right now, what worries you, or what you fear and where or how you escape?

I worry someone I love will get the virus

I try to escape at Animal Humane, looking at Roxy, Burt, Lincoln.

I fear they’ll never find a vaccine.

I search for a new recipe for banana bread.

What if people keep acting like there’s nothing to worry about?

What if they keep not wearing masks in the stores?

I have always wanted to visit New Zealand, it’s so far away,

it seems distance keeps us safe, the aquamarine waters,

the mountains like postcard pictures of heaven, flowers by the sea,

the way mountains and sky reflect in water as if we were seeing the inside of ourselves.

Alternative writing exercise:

Write about ways that you escape things you don’t like to do, things that make you uncomfortable or afraid. Write about ways this isn’t always good for you and ways that this helps you survive. Write about your bravery in your escape. Write about the brilliance in your escape. Be kind to yourself. We are all working to get through.

Thank you for writing with us.

Be safe. Be well.


Liza Wolff-Francis

Published by lizawolfffrancis

Liza Wolff-Francis is a poet and writer with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College who is proud to have served two terms as a member of the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program’s Selection Committee. She was co-director for the 2014 Austin International Poetry Festival and a member of the 2008 Albuquerque Poetry Slam Team. She has an ekphrastic poem posted in Austin’s Blanton Art Museum by El Anatsui’s sculpture “Seepage” and her work has most recently appeared in Steam Ticket, eMerge, Minute Magazine, Weaving the Terrain: 100 Word Southwestern Poems, Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems, Poetic Routes, Poetry Pacific, Edge, and on various blogs. She has a chapbook out called Language of Crossing (2015, Swimming with Elephant Publications), which is a collection of poems about the Mexico- U.S. border. She loves breakfast food, popcorn and dark chocolate.

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