Good morning everyone, and welcome to this week’s Poetry Corner! Please welcome Kelcey Rockhold!🙂
The First River – Rockhold
Hungry for the earth, the air
An ancient man traveled, grey haired and sun beaten, his chest heavily heaving.
He walked on a path that pulled and strayed him
Making his way past the familiar “DO NOT ENTER” sign
To the river he hoped now flowed, laid smooth with moss rock.
Swallows sang in the branches that hung overhead
A tangle of shade as he made his way through grass
To the slope of the river’s edge.
Kneeling into the hard-hearted ground,
He looked down into an empty casket miles long, bone dry.
Weary, he licked his chapped cracked lips and tripped
And a bramble thrashed his face.
Too many faces.
Thoughts polluted his focus, and the man quickly lost his way.
He tried desperately to find his way to the path from where he’d come
Only to find that he had taken the wrong one.
Panic filled his lungs, a vaporous gas he could not escape.
Darkness crept in slowly with each horrific memory
Reminding him of every single one he was walking the world to rid himself of.
They followed him, the tireless ghosts.
Every woman. Every child. Every man.
Chased by his past from his farmhouse east of where he’d walked
The tormented man stumbled back towards the empty riverbed instead.
Each gaunt face filled his mind,
As the Star of David lit the screams of anguish,
Bunk-beds filled with fear, the daily march.
His endless uniformed watch, his stone still chest, standing statue faced.
The barbed wire gates that offered no way out,
Not even now;
The prison keeper found he’d become the imprisoned.
On this dim night as the old man desperately sought his way
Passing by signs he’d earlier hung, he tore them down one by one,
An ode to what was needed no more. “KEEP OUT,” piling them like bodies
Refusing to let tears rip the skin on his well worn face.
With the flick of a match he’d kept near his breast, he set the signs aflame.
Light hit his face; his grief masked by the smoke that was too familiar, even now.
Gently pulling out a well worn photo of a woman in white,
He held it tenderly the way he had held her on cold nights, the flames around her vivid, angelic…
Remembering the creak of her step in the farmhouse hall he could recall her greying hair,
The way she had looked at him with questioning eyes when his own were far away.
He had on his person a timepiece holstered and untouched for many years, a Luger 9mm.
Such a small token of power to drop hearts full of holes to the ground.
The steel trigger warning that would blaze like the fire before him,
The shots fired bringing silence to onlookers,
Obedience to the starved, the living dead.
Too many shots resounded in his past that he could not recall the first body to fall.
He looked at the photo once more, before a Bang tinged it the color of love.
At dawn the sun crested on the casket of the empty bed,
Illuminating the first river it had seen in years
Flowing slowly from him
The black and white and red of his life; the ache of soul.
His memories now drifted away, pistol in hand.
Powerful poem, Kelcey. Thank you so much for sharing!🙂
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