Friday, June 3, 2011

Paper Dolls

©2010 Johnny Domawa 
All Rights Reserved

A paper doll flutters in the wind
Its right arm tangled upon a crevasse
Clouds, dark and looming linger in the sky
Somewhere, the cry of an unnamed bird pierces
The heavy silence –

Faces, covered in mud
Stray beads of sweat fall softly
Grime, a mismatched shoe
Protrudes obscenely from a growing pile
A sigh here and there leave their marks
Shallow breaths that leave puffy clouds in the gray mist
A silent mass moves in the gathering fog
A multitude of bodies caught in an eerie trance
The wails of the wounded and the shouts of men –
Drowned out in a soundless world.
The fog momentarily lifts to reveal –
A deep ravine, a mass of rocks and earth falling down its steep incline
Beneath where the swollen river lies silent
A tangled mass of silver metal lies like a beast
From it, a rag tag line of men trudged a makeshift path
By twos or ones with loads of hazy masses upon their backs
In their midst, a man with a wrapped burden grunts, slipping into the mud
He teeters, like a reed caught by the wind
Unsure, he bends and almost collapses back into the abyss below –
By some miracle, he regains his footing
A collective gasp escapes from the throats of the watchers
He kneels, biding strength to spent muscles
Sheer exhaustion paints the lines of his face
His breath escapes in rapid rasps punctuating the air before him
He shifts his weight, gently shaking the mass he carries
The wrappings silently unravels –
Like a chrysalis it opens
A pale white arm silently drops from the dark mass
Everyone freezes as they watch helplessly
His pain forgotten, he follows the movement
The hand hangs limply, its digits wan and unmoving
His vision swims as despair overtakes his soul
Dry tears burn through his heart, as he stares wildly
The paper doll twists like a mad ballerina
It strains, almost to the point of breaking –
Then slowly, he saw it, like a shining beacon in a storm–
From a lifeless hand, a finger curled
And then another –

A shadow covers the paper doll –
Silently a hand reaches down, cupping it
Its deadly pirouette slows as the hand shielded it from the wind
Gently, it settled –

A tired pair of hands grasps the hand of the child as it lies curled inside a hospital room
Innocent eyes stir from half closed eyes to seek the touch –
Around them, the muffled voices of volunteers and medics pass unheard
The man shivering and dripping wet from muddy clothes bends to eye level
For a moment, their eyes meet as unspoken feelings are shared
One in pain, one in glorious exhaustion, they both smile –

Outside, the rain falls –

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