The Pariah

I wonder if the pariah in dusted lands
wove his hands with clay and mud
to build a whole out of bitterness.
I wonder if he touched hatred gently,
strained his bones with resigned peace,
and gazed on a sea of sorrow wistfully.

He would be a man with a hindrance on his heart
but his burgundy eyes looking to the sun,
rolling bones and flesh tilting up in spite.
I wonder if his feet would boil and blister
over the hot, unforgiving sands of Giza –
if he’d hallucinate a dead boy beneath the brow of his sweat.

Would he be the one history longed for?
The one they dreamed up as misunderstood,
alone and a riveting explanation of anguish?
Would he return only the child’s dream
with lost hope and unspoken gratitude
for being there to show him the bloody way?

His eyes would show some haunted, unsought wisdom,
like stillness before tufts and bursts of wind in broken conditions.
They would bury him to the brink, he’d choke on dust,
clutch his soot-covered hands to his face
and begin to weep wholeheartedly,
falling to fragile, overworked knees.

I imagine he’d weep until the dust settled
in ripples surrounding his wavering humanity.
He’d think to days of unblemished sheets
and considerate love under smoldering blue skies
with clear eyes and a hand to rinse his heart of dust.

And I imagine he’d feel the weight in rising,
the burden of a burning star on the surface,
the blood beneath cracked skin wasted and lonely,
the unseen essence of loss, the bleeding outcast.

And I wonder if the pariah would see the beauty
when he pushes calloused hands into sand, soft and powerful,
rising with a thread of bravery like a noose slowly tightened,
and I think – I think he is better than all of us,
to hold his woes with careful regard
and let his feet boil and blister as he walks on.

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