U.X.O.: A Lonely Walk

U.X.O.: A Lonely Walk

Every step is heavy
By the boots of harrowing

Down a mile long walk
In spectated isolation,
Where all the people
Are gathered to watch.

… Peering by a thick plastic visor
Khaki dust streak through.

Heavy is the foot as it rises,
And as a blacksmith’s hammer,
Smashes down
Unto the ground.

… Can feel them all nervous for me,
Looking on.

Heavy is the smoky air
With sweet molassas.
Heavy is the burden
Of walking through it.

… Sullen silence creeps into senses:
A slash and stab of anxiety.

In a suit like a spaceman’s,
So alien to this vaccum,
And every movement is made
In a brooding slow motion.

… Pushing oneself to continue
Through the lonely fog.

Spacewalking down a dirt road
In a motion of low gravity,
Arms swimming as if in a
Murky, shallow pond.

… Suit anchored with armor
Tethering to the ground.

Didn’t want to leave
In the first place.
But this
Is the job.

… Heat stress and heavy legs
Accompany the demining brigade.

One foot in front of the other,
Must remember to breathe
In the overwhelming warmth.
Wiping dust from the mask.

… No one can see underneath
Damp sweat and pained strain.

Submerged in the polluted air,
Moving through a soupy mixture
Haze, clutching a pair of scissors
And eyes on with eyes on the bomb.

… It was this hot the minute before,
And the minute before that.

A whipping wind cakes the visor.
Boots of harrow heavy in stride.
From so very far away,
Others are quietly watching.

… Suit is in pressure. Every step
In brand new undertow or riptide.

Legs are stiff and
Arms are encumbered.
Thick gloves, flak collar.
Wiping the visor again.

… Timer still ticking.

Better keep walking.

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