The Rite (III/III)

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I recall the exodus from Kaoidang:
the flight from sprayed bullets
into Iron Mountain,
the night you hazarded land mines,
jungle wild,
and the Khmai reds
to extract your child from harm.

wearied by a march without term,
you set off in the dark.
Miles into the distance you discerned
a scant frame crouched at the road’s median –
hapless, weeping.
You consoled your girl,
craned her to your shoulder,
and with stick in hand to fend
against menace lurking in all the shadows of the world
you lumbered toward camp.

How do I contrive your absolution?
A monster –
you aren’t,
nor hero.
You endeavor,
but unravel always –
as if faltering,
your means to transcend.

How do I broker this canyon?
I lay my home aside it,
and read your disintegration.

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