The fog is easy enough to navigate.

One foot in front of the other,

You only need to see the step just ahead of you.

But even the strongest will

Will only get you so far without an anchor.


And that’s just the fog.


When the gray dissipates,

When the world returns,

It doesn’t happen by degrees.

The fog doesn’t ease you back into the vibrancy of life.

Instead, you’re hurled right back into it,

Headfirst and without a moment to catch your breath.

Suddenly, you can see any number of paths before you.


You don’t know who you are anymore.


The fog is safer,

You just keep moving forward.

One foot in front of the other.

Now that it has finally abandoned you—

And that is what you wanted, right?—

Now you have to know who you are,

And where you’ll go next.


How long has it been since you were you?


Too long in the fog,

You’ve lost your sense of direction.

The map was obscured.

A battle fog made the world much smaller, and,

To your dismay, much easier to navigate.

A 4 x 4 square is more easily managed

Than acres of possibilities.


When the fog clears

And you can see much more than

Just that single next step,

You realize you’re lost.

You find yourself taking one step at a time—

Deep breaths, in and out, like you have for so long—

Until the safety of the fog returns.


Whoever you are remains lost in the gray.

Published in Poetry


Jessica West (West1Jess) is pursuing a state of self-induced psychosis (reading, writing, editing). She lives in Acadiana with three daughters still young enough to think she’s cool and a husband who knows better but likes her anyway.

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