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Home Again

by Janet Reid
The snow dragged heavily
around his aching feet,
and the air was cold enough to snap
the frost that quickly formed upon his breath,
but he kept his eyes on the horizon
and his heart was warmly bundled
under layers of flannel and wool.

The sun bounced blindingly
off of tiny diamond flakes
as one hand gripped his pack,
while the other clung, with fingers chilled,
to the branch of a fallen tree
that bowed under the weight
of his weary soul.

But he pressed on.

Long he'd dreamed this journey
while holed up under farmer's fields
half a world and a thousand fallen lives
away from here, looking at the sky
and seeing flowing locks of auburn curls,
and sweet green eyes,
before the smoke moved in.

Sometimes the meadows of this valley
seemed too far away for even
dreams and hopes to pull him through
and counting every breath till his return
seemed pointless to the boy inside the man
forced to grow up faster
than anybody should.

But he'd pressed on.

And now the knoll was cresting
and the trees were waving silent
like the hands of many friends,
saying 'hurry home my boy
for she is waiting
at the mill, beside the river
where your love flows!'

Then he felt the swell of freedom
as he gazed upon that building,
and he'd never seen another
quite so wonderful as this!
For despite the missing boards
and cracked and chipping paint
no other ever looked so good as home!

Then he pressed on.

Despite the heavy snow around his feet
that hindered every step,
he had to run, until he saw her
standing like an angel at the door.
And he tossed the branch aside,
cupped his hands around his voice
and called her name across the wind.

And she ran into the snow
to meet her love upon the hill
and wrapped him in her arms,
half a world and a thousand fallen lives
away from where he'd left
the boy that was, and found the man
that she took home.

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Copyright © 2004 by Janet Reid. All rights reserved.