I once stood in the hallowed halls
Of my own hope,
My soul aspiring to reunite with the blood red brick.
One year passed,
And I stand, dwarfed,
Beneath the walls built upon the passion of the accomplished.
Now: Two duffels and two backpacks – more than I would need.
Monochromatic gray clouds block the sunlight I know is mine.
When last did your ribs expand with freedom?
When last did your blood flow with clarity?
Dormant soul: restless sleep, awake but never conscious.
My ambition has been annihilated, but my heart quietly demands:
Find your light.
My shaking hands turn the key into the ignition.
The kind waitress asks where I am from, her voice sweet as a sun-ripened berry.
Do I tell her I came from from Delaware?
Do I say to her, I am from New Jersey?
Or do I tell her the truth – that my soul has found peace in the mountains,
I can breathe easily now.
I hear now only the fresh water rushing over boulders
I have found my path
And it begins here.
My heart is from here.
When last did the birds’ song charge my soul,
Flood it with the energy of lemons,
I know not when last,
But I know it is here.
Swimming, as if through God’s good graces,
Living the river water rushing around me,
I am engulfed.
I am engulfed in life.
My bones rejoice.
Fog indistinguishable from smoke,
Smoke, indistinguishable from breath.
The mountains stare into me,
And I into them.
I continue forward.
Some may ask,
And to them, I can say only,
It was my soul’s demand.
The mist settles heavy over the Smokies,
Weighing down the weariness of my heart.
I want to scream –
I must beseech of them –
How may I live like you?
As the sunlight lazily cascades over the peaks of this secret, conspicuous place
It casts shadows and hope alike.
Bees sing, dutifully fulfilling their job,
And I, the same.
Days melt into one another
And my paradise fades behind the mountains growing ever smaller.
But my soul rejoices with this place,
And I know that I am found.