Exodus is both a leaving and a journey towards
something unknown, into a trust
something will be better, a packing-up
and deciphering which things to leave behind
like footprints or archeology of our past presence,
planning with open map unfolding like umbrellas
or risk of traveling into the unkown without a plan,
sometimes in a rush avoiding a disaster from weather,
earth, or wars, carrying only what little you can,
often not much more than what fits in a pocket
or backpack and sometimes not even that
being more concerned with carrying yourself,

then the movement, the stop-and-go, tiredness
and needing to rest, replenishing, the onwardness
of carrying through with a destination and perhaps
adjusting arrival time, transient and unnerved,
because things take longer than we expect,

what if we are refused entry, stopped at a border crossing,
have to negotiate with a fence, like that is even possible,
digging furtively or wrapping our hands
so as to get over razor wire and under erratic spotlights,
hounded by bloodhounds, chased by all-terrain vehicles,
shot at and perhaps winged, limping as they follow
your blood trail like a hunter follows deer spoor,

then the arrival, is it what we expected
or does it fail our expectations, are we welcomed
or threatened to move on, does the rain fall differently
and does it have exceptional color, was the trip worth it,
was it more trouble than it was worth,

the process of self-evaluation occurs
if we make a journey or not, sometimes it happens
in the planning stages when we are most likely to question
ourselves and our motives, what specific outcomes
can ever match the end result,

and if settling-in is possible, how long does it take,
is it as long as a person adjusting to retirement
after 50 years of the same routine, is there clarity,
what if this journey was a spiritual one
and the spirit does not answer what we need,
or perhaps it answered with rhetorical existential questions
expecting us to reach our own spiritual growth,
or perhaps we get the answer we need
but do not know how to interpret or apply it,

what if we die along the way, get lost,
waylaid, or decided to stay at a random location,
what if we arrived and decided it was better
where we came from, the grass was literally greener
the birds were operatic and the honey
had been mixed with strawberry pollen,

as we leave one thing and enter into another
like a virus or an expatriate or a questioner or guest,
it is the same uncertainty as giving birth or dying,
the unknown cannot be known, no matter the plans,
a leap-of-faith is needed more than faith itself,
the tendency to question is always present,
our bodies are diasporas, kindling fires within us
ready to make-do, aware another moving may be needed.

About the Poet

Martin Willitts, Jr. retired as a Senior Librarian in upstate New York. He is a visual artist of Victorian and Chinese paper cutouts. He was nominated for 5 Pushcart and 2 Best Of The Net awards. His current chapbooks are Why Women Are A Ribbon Around A Bomb (Last Automat, 2011), and Secrets No One Wants To Talk About (Dos Madres Press, 2011). His forthcoming chapbooks include include How to Find Peace (Kattywumpus Press, 2012), Playing The Pauses In The Absence Of Stars (Main Street Rag, 2012), and No Special Favors (Green Fuse Press, 2012).