The single line pathway
moved humans
carrying empty pails of sorrowed hunger
and despair they should never have owned.
Some brought extended bellies
swollen lips and cleaved tongues,
others empty eyes,
faces cracked
and scabbed skin
where tears had dried.
And the dogs
that came on burnt paws,
that pulled tails across stones,
whimpered for those they left to die.
We walked
into miles,
to the horizon,
to a town.
Some groaned,
stopped and dropped
with voices that gurgled
between cracked lips,
before they died.

For each that crumpled
I bent down.
with a prayer,
I pressed eye lids closed.
With whites covered
each rested
in their dark,
our misery unwanted.
By the edge of the town
with thinned ranks
we stood still
to feel the pain,
to let it run away.
to remember friends and family
who like fallen sign posts
now mark our way.
Bodies lying lost upon acarpous soil
tell others
who seek shelter,
‘it doesn’t hurt anymore.’

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