those that dwell here are not captives.

they are here of their own volition.


they chose these cold, grey stones

these four walls

that are filled with the dried blood

of those who tried to climb out —

see there? that’s a fingernail

of one who dug his fingers deep

in efforts to escape;

he stayed here longer than most


but at the western wall

there is a door that is never locked

they can always choose to leave

but they never do


they walk in circles

or huddle in groups

telling stories of how they got here

in the first place


sometimes, they talk

about those who managed to walk

through the door


how they envy them

to have the courage to enter

a land that is eternally dark and cold


but they always come back

they always return


no one is here

who didn’t choose to be here

and they can always leave


those trapped in the fortress

can leave at their own volition —

that path is always open

but rarely chosen


love takes no prisoners

and welcomes all in its cold embrace



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