Traveling in the dark

Traveling in the dark

A Beyene


On a road that I have never traveled before,
traveling in the dark through a wilderness
full of bumps that aim at my toes
with vengeance and unparalleled bitterness.

With every step imagining the risks of a misstep,
tripped by misplaced rocks or by exposed root,
avoiding a slippery waste dropped on my path
by those who passed this way before me on foot.

Checking for a dangerous trap
from those who wish no follower to come behind,
traveling on a road with intense fear
where each passing hour only adds a hassle to my mind.

Picturing that most of the night is yet to come,
unpredictable noises heard at random bash,
my heart beat eclipsing the surrounding noises
the sound of dried branches I crush,
by stepping on them with my own feet,
a noise of another breaking branch
I hear from a distance in the darkness.

Suspicious that someone or something
may see my trembling legs through the dark,
bumping into a low hanging tree branch
As I wobble missing my imaginary mark.

Thinking how to proceed in this precarious night
with no moon-light – against all odds,
sending my legs in front of me
to research my next landing space –
bending forward as my arms protect my face,
moving little by little, with a disappointing pace.

Negotiating with my conscience
about waiting in discreet –
staying put until the night passes,
and I join a safe street.
But this night’s safety is iffy,
shivering in cold,
and asking myself why I am all alone in the dark,
with only a little piece of hope to hold.

… Then I hear a little voice from a far distance –
like it comes from deep inside the earth,
as if the spirits are calling, for instance,
a little noise from behind.

I hear the noise escalating – higher and higher,
the chanting and singing of people,
and suddenly I recognize the noise,
approaching me, coming my way,
they carry lights, they have signs, fully lit,
dancing, chanting of men and boys.

I stood up frozen for a moment – as if in a dream,
as they come my way,
colorful, with melody, like a noisy hornet,
joyful, thrilled to see a light and people chanting,
I am ready to join this invigorating moment.

I can’t wait until they close the distance to join the chant –
so I walk back to them,
uncovering the road I covered with much difficulty in the dark,
I was full of smile, elated, happy, humming a winner’s anthem.

But then, before I join the chant,
one of the chanters takes out his machete
and runs towards me, sinking my soul with dread,
angry, blood-thirsty, and upset,
he is ready to chop off my head.

I turn back to the dark, and I run,
trusting the rocks – the tree brunches – the dark –
all of which now turn to protect me,
embracing my reckless run with no destination or mark.

I escape from the chant and the night-light –
a brief chant that almost cost me my life.
I am safe now, protected by a beautiful knight,
sheltered by night and fenced by rocks so I thrive,
housed in the jungle – a friend that never betrayed me,
in a night that will deliver me to the day-light.

Protected by the night,
now the day-light approaches,
the morning rays penetrate the horizon,
and I will see the true light until dusk,
distinguish faithful friends then,
from nightly impostors of false musk.

Then, from a friend – the light,
back to a friend – the night,
and back to a friend, the bright,
another full cycle from one completed cycle,
marching step by step, striving without a stop,
a step longer from yesterday’s,
I march, towards my promised mountain top.