Walking is hard, for tall weeds hide the bleached white broken bones of skeletons, incomplete, with ribs and other parts sticking up, waiting to cut into my bare feet. My breath runs and hides, while my heart jumps around in its chest cave. I part some weeds only to find the complete skeleton of a woman. I know it to be female, for down by the legs, half in and half out of her is the tiny skeleton of a babe being born, frozen by fire during its delivery. Time has driven away the sweet-smelling grey ash of those burned beyond the knowing of the soul that once inhabited them. Purple and blue flowers grow through the foundation stones of our fallen temple. A deep dark hole is all that marks the holy tomb at the temple's rear. I pick some of the creeping flowers, say a blessing, and throw them down. Swallowed up by the blackness around them, I do not hear them land. Houses of wood have left no proof of their being, except in my memory. I feel four hundred ghosts follow me as I take the long walk back to the sea, to the boat that will carry me away. I do not say goodbye, nor do I look back as the motor starts. I hope these images of my homeland can be erased and replaced with the ones that fill my heart.
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