What Gives You Joy?

In Pictures

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The Traveler

listen: let your spirit give way to the tugging
of the open sky.
even the wind is shuffling its feet;
tides gallop and the ocean
turns itself inside out, spilling salt-water
on the shore.
gulls cry from rugged coves,
cities call out to you in foreign tongues
and the folds of mountains
are the smiling wrinkles on an old man’s face.
come, you have been awake for
long now—do you
remember sitting up through nights when
lullabies did not mean sleep, but
endless waiting?
here is the sun in your hands;
here is the fresh soil, the seeds ready
to crack open;
here are the roads, the painted
street signs that you do not need to follow;
here are the stories
etched into the naked palms of strangers;
here are the boats and the
nightclubs and the temples holding in
the scent of burning incense;
here are your bright eyes, your cheeks flushed
with rose dawns;
here are the verses pulsing through
your veins like rivulets;
here are the hymns packed into your ribcage,
and the sting of old mistakes
scraping at the lining of your skin.
where are you headed?
listen: you must take all of it and sculpt
the world again—
for here, shining on the gravel are the
streetlamps, like steady torches in the darkness,
guiding you farther and farther
away from home.

© R.F.M.