On a line far off
About this thing you have
That I want to have,
But you’re crying with it.
Somewhere back there
That drowns out the loneliness,
That takes out the heartlessness.
And when I heard you say it I thought --
For a second
I felt what you meant:
A murmur of recognition.
I wanted to know.
I wanted to tear my heart out for you.
Pull my hair out for you.
Break my teeth into jagged pieces
Because mine is yours
Since the day we cried into cocoa
And I called you friend;
Since plaids and pleats and small defeats.
Since then I’ve remembered and recalled
The many walks I took
That scarcely brought me home.
Where are you going?
What do you take with you?
What burdens do you leave behind
That I cannot carry,
What weight do you shed that I cannot accept?
To know is lost,
Not for lack of trying or crying.
So I bow down to you --
No one here but me
And an ocean of pain between us
That I cannot feel or touch
And write about
And hope one day
These words will bridge my gap to you
So you can know
You never went alone before me
I just followed to bring you home.
Editor's Note: "Footprints" by Cristina Lopez originally appeared in our November 2000 issue, but due to Editor error the text was incorrect. We're re-running the poem in its corrected format for your enjoyment.