Instead by Paul Larson

He keeps pushing a 
broken wheelbarrow piled with regret 
up an unforgiving mountain 
past roadside shrines 
whose deities have gone 
on vacation.
He longs to return home 
but there is no going back. 
He can no longer 
get there from here. 
The more distance he covers 
the further away he is 
from his desired destination.
Kafka understood. 
He abandoned pages 
spilled from his notebook 
marking a trail 
but warning others 
not to follow.
The dead are quiet now. 
At peace 
with a knowledge they did not seek.
The price of admission 
was everything he owned. 
All his needs, desires 
traded for nothing 
traded for everything 
but what he really wanted.

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