Burned

I stood on the edge of a great mountain
I bathed in streams of snowmelt, cold and clear
My lungs like a bellows, pumping my heart
I lived in a world of little oxygen
I contemplated deep philosophies
There were no mysteries to challenge me
I spoke to God, and god spoke back to me
The divine word, resounding in the light
I looked down on the people with despair
I despised them, the unworthy masses

I cut my leg on a sharp stone, and fell
A pathogen set in, and I grew ill
My wound became discolored, infected
It crawled up my veins in jagged red streaks
I needed antibiotics. doctors
Despite my constitution, I would die
I was afraid for my life, mortified
By the ease with which I was struck down
I lost the mastery of my ego
My self-satisfaction turned to loathing

I was afraid, now, of death and darkness
Fever and pneumonia nearly took me
My powerful lungs, turned to feeble sacks
My muscles became flaccid, I was lost
I lived in a wheelchair, I could not work
I had no skills, I became dependent
I stewed in contempt, bewailing my fate
My lost holiness, my former station
I waited for the god I once walked with
To lift me from this world, to transform me

I became obsequious and grateful
For the few coins that were dropped in my cup
For the small sum of funds given to me
Deposited each month in my mailbox
I discovered the vice of alcohol
I measured a new form of endurance
How many days and nights could I stay drunk
I lost the bet, and died in an alley
I fell from my wheelchair with the garbage
Face down in my filth and my excrement

My spirit rose, lifting from the valley
I saw my mountain tall and forbidding
I cringed as I ascended, fearing God
Soiled as I was, and miserable
Broken as I was, unwashed, unshriven
I rose past the cold peak of my mountain
Rising higher than I had ever dreamed
The bright sun touched me with its tongues of fire
I was burned…burned alive, I was burned clean
By the brilliance of the spirit, love

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