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  • Gary Hunter

Hard Path to God - Lisbon, Portugal Oct. 28, 2021

These cobbled stones once rough and gray

lie obsidian smooth and silent as I stride uphill

in dim doorways tips of cigarettes dot the shadows

a dog’s breath strays onto my heel

inside a torch sears my thighs

each lung billows a gasp collapses a puff

this road’s history a blur of friction

each cut rock embedded with a story

if you put an ear to it

this one filled with a Roman child’s laughter

another with the cries of a Moorish slave

that one a cart’s wheel singing on its way to market

the B+B’s sign glows as I reach the old convent door

my hand stops and feels its skin-burnished wood

perhaps like some nun’s fingers might have

thru her long black sleeve

while stealing breath in the moonlight

I wonder if she also turned back

to look at the road just climbed

and imagined dark and evil

a polished devil snaking

out of sight


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