Jackie Biggs

The road from Damascus

He still has the key to his house,
safe in his pocket,
but it fits a door that no longer exists
and all the doors that remain are closed to him.

He walks away from the dust of his home,
and the wreck of his family
and he walks,
one step at a time,
one festering foot in front of the other,
hope a distant memory,
despair a constant companion,
determination his friend,
he walks,
mile on mile,
one way,
hour after hour,
day on day,
pain on pain,
he has to keep walking,
away from his wife,
from his children,
he has to walk
to give them hope,
he has to walk away,
keep walking,
keep stepping
one in front of the other,
ignore the pain,
step on step,
stones and rocks,
hurt on hurt
smarting sores
throbbing head,
freezing in mountains,
soaking in thunderstorms,
thirsting in desert heat
dodging gangs,
avoiding wolves in forests,
step step step
one one one,
just one man,
one father,
one husband,
one step
at a time
one way
on and on,
miles to go,
if he can find food,
water,
yes, water, please,
shelter,
somewhere to sleep,
if he can sleep,
if he can keep walking
keep going
on and on,
one day,
one day,
across hidden borders,
step step
on on and on,
into a tunnel,
every step a small death,
every one a possible future,
step after step,
on and on,
one, one, one
step, step, step,
pain on pain,
stumbling,
falling, get up again.
walk, walk,
on and on.
Keep walking
into the tunnel.
On. On. On.

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