Beyond the Gates

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Beauty awaits

rising high

pouring sunlight

honey running down the gates

We stand at her steel mercy

waiting for a sign

that life may open to us

that we may walk forward

and all we hear is laughter

rising from the dark wood

the forest that surrounds us

that tempts and frightens

Filled with fireflies

and sharp teeth

fears of the past

monsters made flesh

with hearts in their mirrored eyes

the kind that spurt blood

as they’re ripped from our chests

---

So we wait and we pray

for the easy paved road

with every step lit

gated off from darkness

protected from death

for awhile at least ...

---

This road of progress leading nowhere

going further every day

Brick by stolen brick

built of treasures

secrets of the forest

blood of the earth

gifts formed by eons

stepped on

ignored with mirth

A man with a gun walks our way

with a creak, the gate opens.

“Only one,

you, born in May.”

He points at me.

I step forward, past the disappointed crowd

No idea why

only I,

me

am allowed

Was it my father?

my white skin?

a twist of fate?

What boon let me pass?

to walk beyond the gate

Who am I?

to walk fancy free

on the bones of others

past quarters of slaves

shackled by chance

by their birth

and god’s rolling dice

---

"Why must they suffer?" I ask

“So that we may stay clean,” answered a guard

“Are we not dirt?”

“Aye, but let them dig for us,” said the guard

“Don’t question the way

or we’ll throw you in, too.

or out to the wild beasts

into the jungles where we begin.

Isn’t it better to walk with us?

Warm and free

Where no monsters can touch us

save you or me?”

---

So I walked slowly on

without meter or rhyme

past frozen clouds

gorged on too much time

The easy path led me alone

until I looked down

I stood on two stones

carried by a man

and I asked him his name

“Robin, good sir,

though why do you ask?

I’ll carry you until I die

and you have their power

the privilege to ignore me

to forget I'm like you

So why do you ask my name if there’s nothing to do?”

“Because there is, dear Robin

something to do in a way

much

much to do

for we’ve both been led astray

First, put me down

don’t carry me this way.”

And Robin lowered me down

my feet on the ground

I saw into his eyes

ran my fingers across scars on baked skin

---

“No one was meant to walk for another

our world has gone ill

We’ve sacrificed our humanity for steel gates

and the safety of lies

Let us walk together

freeing those as we can

and when we have a chance

back to the woods

back to the truth

We’ll build a new world

Where all people matter

and we’ll teach everyone how to live

and let go of their vengeance

so that we can find peace

---

We’ll grow our own food

and use light from the sun

The monsters, I know

and they will be our friends

scaring the guards

keeping the cowards at bay

and one day we’ll be many

and we’ll free all our sisters and brothers

leading them from the fence

leaving those with empty power to fend for themselves.”

---

So we stepped through the bars

slipping by the fence

out from neon lights

and into the stars.

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