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César Manrique Cabrera sculpture, Lanzarote — photo by author

No one knows,
where the next step
will land you,
you can’t tell the card
until it’s turned.

Dead-ended,
stripped of choice and chance,
back to the wall,
everyone turns
coarse, and rough, and feral.

Etiquette traded for
snarl and snatch.
Callouses, a shell formed over graces,
empathy hardened to
tooth and nail.

On the horizon, the glow,
no signal, no risen sun,
but an answer, none the less,
to prayers whispered in the dark,
Please, let them pass me by.
Only a fool would stay,
when the shift of bitter ash whispers,
Flee.

Cast off, adrift upon the relentless sea
pray for current and wind
from afar, there is so much. Space
where I might, we could,
start anew,
so much grows from the slightest start;
insignificant the seed, towering the tree.

But no, no room here.
The signs, faded with time,
though sharp with fresh intent,
Need not apply,
move along,
go back where you belong.
But back is smoke and fear. The gleam,
that glow spreading,
fire.

If not for me, then for whom,
does this land await?
In what sacred trust is it held,
what accounting, that I am not enough?
Where the door that I might pass though?
Because surely, as sure as wind and rain,
I tell you, the level comes
that will oertake these walls,
Either breached from without,
or by the humanity that must still lie within.

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