Ghosts on the Road

The old warrior shuffles along,
Ruck-running south on the right shoulder
Of the Oregon Coast Highway,
And approaches a green, reflective
Road sign saying, “Welcome to Newport,
Population 10,000,” all asleep.
He sees the cast of their headlights
Swinging past as a string of a dozen cars
Flies down the road from behind him.
As they reach him, two-dozen beams of light
From two-dozen headlights,
Throw up two-dozen shadows on the green
“Welcome to Newport” sign.
Two-dozen warriors jog across the sign,
Round heads bobbing in lockstep
Above the bulky green silhouette
Of a 70 Lb rucksack.
The warriors square aching shoulders,
Straighten up against the weight
Of OD green straps digging into
Their shoulder, pick their feet up a little,
Leap a tiny bit forward with each stride
As the road whispers lost echoes
Of boots, sandals, mocassins and bare
Ancient feet, under the whoosh,
Of cars racing by
All asleep.
Snowflakes whirl like dust motes
From a desert far away and long ago,
As the warrior
And the shadows of warriors
Keep the march.

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