He came upon the shrine
and saw in it only stone.
So far had he come for this moment
and so lost he felt now that he was upon it.
He stared at the lines on his hands open-mouthed,
each scribble open, gray and ugly.
The shrine had one door
and two tiny windows cut in stone.
He entered holding his breath,
the floor recently swept,
the door recently greased.
There was nothing in the room.
He felt the blisters on his feet,
the taste of blood in his mouth,
a sting of sweat in his eyes.
He sat on the floor
Michael H. Brownstein
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