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The old warrior



He leans against winter shadows

with such great sorrow, longing

to conjure peace as a magician might

with sacred water before a birth,

cupping a cigarette like men in war do

he inhales a California city’s back streets

exhales his fear, dreading it has burned

right through him scalding his children,

outside an occasional car passes in the rain

sounds of wet whipping on the street.


He flips the remote, turning on silence that bangs

against the heater, drawing metal blinds closed

he longs for his home land, Jerusalem, heart of his

his own, but they banished him

and forbade return. He is a stranger now,

with a spare life, with heels sticking out bare

from shoes worn as a desert man would

no socks in winter, backs forced flat

he makes sandals of every shoe he wears

believing maybe he can one day return.


But now the desert warrior is dying,

he is tumbling within shifting sands

changing his entire world, the walls melt,

he is lost in an eternally damnable dark.

He blows smoke over his shoulder as a desert man does

no longer hungry for humus on deli bought bread, he

sits back and cries, a siren grows louder

screams past his warehouse home, fades into the fog,

he moans against being alone as a desert man might,

at three am the concrete city outside is quiet.




Copyright© Sharon Lopez Mooney, “old desert warrior”, originally published in The UNIverse Journal, April 10th Issue, ed. C. P. Pathakk, Bihar, India, September 2023

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