maria’s travels

juggling awkward bags
she carried her life on her back
filled with memories and dreams
and wishes for a better world

sewn pieces of canvas and leather
held burdens heavier than expected
lighter than anticipated

she still heard the blessing of her mother
as they released one another’s embrace
for surely the final time
now her heart shattered like fine crystal

was it fear of death or determination to live
that made the weight on her back shift?
she thought of the sign on her home town market
“no returns accepted.”

‘this’, she realized, ‘is the true meaning of limbo.’
a country to the north, a country to the south
and only the cold steel of a railroad track
as a highway converting dreams to reality
or altering hopes to nightmares

the bright morning sun reflected her tears
and for a moment
that mirror of compassion and human kindness
echoed the true heart of mankind