if she's never allowed to stumble
into the muck's tempting tendrils,
desperate to drag her out screaming
and make her wish she could go home,
she'll never start to miss
the comforts of what she knows.
if she can't lose her bearings
in the overdrawn map she's scribed for herself,
becoming absorbed in ornamental details
that turn out not to be so,
she'll never accept the role of designer
when life hands her a pen.
if she doesn't betray the fickle cord
binding her to what she's been told,
drawing her back in to the rigid frame of still life,
she'll never invent ideas, create surprises,
fool the conformists who've trodden paths
worn thin with footprints
everyone's stepped in.
if you refuse to let her go,
she won't ever make her mark
on streets paved in cement
that's already drying