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The Chasm

By Mandy Doerr

I do not wish to walk this path.
The rocks are sharp and jagged,
The incline too steep, the soil too sandy,
And I am afraid of the bottom.

Please don't make me go there alone
Give me a guide, a protector, a comforter...

But I had no guide
To lead me through the rocks.
No one protected me
From the cuts and bruises.
No comfort was given
To my wrenched and torn heart.

I only had a twisted, selfish being,
Who pushed me off the path
And into the rocks.
Only to jeered at my pain
And insist I was the one to blame.

The vultures knew the smell
Of a battered soul.
And circled above me
To mock my efforts at survival.

Sometimes, they would swoop down
And try to take bites of me,
As if death was only waiting
A few steps further.

And when I fell
The being and vultures would laugh
And tell me
That I was without worth.

When I fought back
They would throw stones and sand.
And then they would recite
All my failings as proof
Of their justifications.

They were happy
When I traveled downward,
But when I tried for the chasm's rim
They would scramble to block the way.

Once, I saw the chasm's floor.
The sight sickened me
And I bolted for the rim above me.

I choked on the dust that surrounded me.
I bled from the vultures claws.
I screamed from the jagged rocks.
I cried from the being's blows.

Blindly, I went upward,
Franticly dislodging debris
In my panicked wake.

Then my hand felt grass,
I smelled flowers,
The dust settled,
And for one short moment,
I saw paradise.

The vultures gave a cry
And the being pulled me down,
But once you've seen paradise,
You fight to get it back.

I will outlive the vultures.
I will outwit the being.
I will return to the chasm's rim,
And I will walk the fields
Of paradise.

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copyright © 1998, Amanda D. Doerr