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Prayer for those who run

By Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

I wish you swift wind.
I wish you a changed phone number
that stays changed.

I wish you throwing away the cell the parents bought to track you with.
I wish you the Greyhound,
PATH train, whatever transit you're waiting for
coming on time
and taking you away express with no stops.

I wish you a city with affordable housing.
An apartment where you smear blood above the door
so their angel of death
will pass you by.

I send you this story:
my people are the fuck ups
the runaways, the ones who waited to tell their parents they were queer,
or remembered, til they were over 21
and couldn't be committed
-- not as much.

The ones whose therapy is backpacks and shoplifting and silence,
The ones who grew as much of their own food in their yard as they could
as a survival mechanism
not a fun green hobby
the ones who whisper I will beat you with a pipe 
I am feral as fuck

I tell you the story that even now that I am an unexpected sort of success
I am always and forever this close to walking away to the woods
with everything I own in a ripped-up plastic bag
and I know I could thrive there:

I still don't know how to adult or tame,
and I hold that tight
side by side with the warm kitchen, the steady love.

I was born to run and I made the home I deserved
out of the beauty I found in garbage
and my imagination
So can you




Listen as Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha reads "Prayer for those who run."

Added: Wednesday, February 19, 2020  /  Used with permission.
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Photo by Jesse Manuel Graves.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer disabled nonbinary femme writer, poet, disability and transformative justice movement worker, and educator of Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma ascent. The Lambda Award winning author of Tonguebreaker, Bridge of Flowers, Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home, Bodymap, and Love Cake and Consensual Genocide. With Ejeris Dixon, she is the co-editor of Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement, and with Ching-In Chen and Jai Dulani, she co-edited The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities. Since 2009, she has been a lead artist with the disability justice performance collective Sins Invalid. Raised in Worcester, MA, she currently lives in South Seattle. Visit Leah's website:

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a Featured Poet for Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness (March 26-28, 2020) in Washington, DC. For more information, visit the Festival web page

Other poems by this author