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Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre 
     by Edmund Siejka

We were in the Italian Rivera
A once in a lifetime trip
Hiking along the remote cliffs of Cinque Terre
Along narrow rock strewn paths
Barely wide enough
For goats.
We continued
Clinging to the cliffs of the coastline
Crossing over flimsy wooden bridges
Past vineyards
Olive groves
And lemon orchards.

Falls were common
I remembered 
Simple rules of the trail
Look downward
Not up
Know where you are going
Make sure you can get back safely 
Carefully we continued
Weighing every slippery rock
And stone
Before taking the next step.

When our guide stopped
I rested
In front of me 
Splashed across
A deep blue horizon
Was the Mediterranean  
Ancient as Homer’s Helen
And now a scene of tranquil emptiness. 

We started again
Shifting our weight
Walking on our heels
Following the steep
Downward slope 
Ending hours later
I was exhausted
Glad that it was over.

My sides ached
Every breath
A struggle
Forcing me to wonder
If I would ever cross this way again.

Copyright © Edmund Siejka


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