“Escape Only” By Sara Mikula

You lived on rooftops but, to your dismay, it still wasn’t close enough to the clouds. You thought you would be able to reach up your hand and float away to the other end of the Earth and sleep like you wouldn’t fall through. The idea was so impossible and we tried to explain to you what a cloud is. “I know what a cloud is,” you said, but your irrationality continued.

We lost track of you. You were on a different building every day and had no permanent address. Your navigation was led by the building whose top extended into the heavens. Sometimes it took you all day to reach it and by the time you arrived, the heavens were higher than it appeared from the ground.

You only used the escape stairs—most of them forbidden. You saw the escape only signs and they reassured you as you climbed higher.

You tried once to lead us up the escape stairs to see what you do, but we got tired and the height frightened us, not to mention that our use of the escape stairs was completely unnecessary (and forbidden). After you refused to let us use the elevator to reach the top, we used it to descend.

You spent all your time looking at the clouds drifting by. When your back hurt too much from laying on the concrete rooftop, you got up and leaned over the edge and watched all the people keep to the sidewalks, watched all the cars keep to the dotted lines and traffic lights. You watched until the movements blurred to one and, justified, you lay back down until you hurt again.


Sara Mikula is a writer currently based in Massachusetts.

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