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This ain’t no sci-fi fairy tale
Where all goes well
In the long view.

I set my goal
And walked.
Yeah, walked.
A thousand miles?
How much is that?
I got no idea.
I walked and walked
Dragging a no-good whining brat
Nearly every step.
She picked her ankles up,
You bet,
By the time she knew
What kind of world
Her mama put her in.
Wasn’t Mama’s fault,
You know.
We all land where we’re thrown,
Know what I’m saying?
But I believed,
Some reason I can’t name,
She had to get out of there.
Well, that I knew.
I knew what would become
Of her pretty black hide
Soon as she started curving like a girl.
I knew whose eyes
Were watching for the dollar signs to show.
I been that road.
I know.

Can’t save myself,
Too late,
But maybe a little piece of me,
In those brown baby eyes—
We got the same eyes—
Could sneak out from that fate.
I don’t know.
I just wanted to do something for that girl
Before she sank down in the hole with me,
Swimming in the sand,
Deep sand.

Wasn’t no picnic
(I been one of those—
Roast rat and soda,
Place they call a park,
Blacktop all cracked up
Like an elbow scab,
Green trees and flowers growing like a mold).
No way! It was hell
Planning that secret, twisty-turny maze.
The men I had to please, getting my sister out—
It makes me puke, for all my long nights in the Shack.
But that’s the price I paid
And still do pay.
I got her out. We tramped past
Tower after tower.
And now we’re here, right at the gate.

That hill is high. I never seen one high like that.
There’s guards on all the walls, some on the ground.
Helmets and guns,
Just like the cops in all those stories
And the books.

You go ahead.
I know they’re calling me,
But I ain’t pure enough to go in there.
I done some things this trip
I just can’t answer for.
They’d make me tell
To get the Devil out.
I know.
I can’t put words to it
Or it’ll grow
Too big to think of.
It’ll kill the last good in me.
You just go.
I’ll stay and watch you
Till they close the doors.
Then I’ll go back and die.
It will be death—
No eyes to look at like I used to own.

(c) 2012 Mark penny


Posted June 23, 2012 by markpenny

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