Joshua – A Poem

I watched the youth come over the hill, his shoulders hunched, my heart stood still. He struggled to make the top of that rise – his brow was furled, his breath was strained. The path ran down through a vale of peace, he chose it not and lifted his head to look at the mountain that was black and grim . . . I could not breathe for I knew him.

He held his pace and began to climb – straight up the face into clouds of black . . . I prayed that he would just turn back. He slipped and fell, then caught himself – the shirt was shredded across his back. His flesh was torn and still he climbed, up through the rocks and peaks of time.

He fell again and began to slip. The fires of hell opened far below and the mountain shuddered threatening to explode. My agony increased as I watched him hang, over an abyss that called to him . . . filled with the anguish of others who had failed within.

He pulled himself up, an inch at a time – each inch was measured by years of my life. The fateful climb was taking its toll, his blood was spilled and left behind . . . each drop had a hold on his soul. I tried to scream, “Don’t give up!” but an echo of silence was all I heard and then his breath more ragged and tense, built walls around me that would not move.

Just when I thought I would die with him, for his life was a measure of me, he crawled to the top, weak and grim, pulled himself up and lifted his chin. He was injured and weak, but stood strong and tall, the walls of his pain began to fall. He turned with a smile, a beckoning call, “See Mom, I made it after all.”

There is no God

Picture this. The poker room is just cranking up for the day. A few games are in progress that held over from graveyard. A five-handed $20-40 limit holdem game starts and the chips are flying into the pots like lemmings on their way to the ocean. One player goes bust and leaves a lockup. Another player takes a walk to the sports book. The other three continue to jam in silence. An announcement comes over the loudspeaker, “Immediate seating in 3-6 limit holdem.”
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