She’s still there,
where the past is still alive,
a past that led her youth and the dreams entrusted to her
into the wasteland.

At this place in the past the ladder of wishes collapsed,
the column of hope crumbled, and the walls of peace fell.
Suddenly she found herself amidst earthly rubble of desperation,
breaths laboured in and out,
tears hidden in the corners of almond eyes,
unspoken words trapped in her throat.

Her youthful face was strained by exhaustion.
The innocence of a generation lost,
all turned crabbed and grey,
cowering by dusty coffins, a bundle slung over the shoulder,
sadly embracing broken pens and torn pages of books.

Lost and aimless she roamed the city streets,
saw smoke and gunpowder with disbelieving eyes,
heard a neighbour stuffing her entire life into a small bag,
and fleeing by the back door into the dead of night.

She still thought it was all a dream,
slapped herself hard to wake from the nightmare.
Disheartened, finally, she sat down and cried
for the unlived youth and the broken dreams.

The decision was hard to make, the escape route destructive.
Nothing was left to her.
The sound of her broken soul tortured her unceasingly,
until, unexpectedly, a people smuggler appeared on the perilous road.

The journey was arduous.
Her feet climbed mountains that touched the skies,
and she fought deep forests for her torn clothes.
Gone were the fancy attire, the table, the chair.
Her hands, covered in cuts, clung to the tightly-tied bundle.

Her feet were swollen, her knees hugged by rocks,
her eyes lingered in the depths of valleys and canyons.
She could go on no longer, but the bundle she never let go.