For Cindy

At first, there were people
lots of them
hanging around,
not sure what to do
sorry, but not sure
why

As time went on,
they went back
to their cities
their homes
their jobs
their lives
their worries

Away from the mess
that had become
her reality

Her reality
taking care of others
being good enough
at home
at school
with friends
as a daughter
a niece
a granddaughter
a student

But not a person

Salvation
she was assured
would come
if only she attended
church

Where she could be
shown the way
the truth
the light
the Gospell
the “right” way
the only way
the path
to God

Salvation would not come
from a change of homes
family support
creature comforts
caring and a home-cooked meal
or allowing her to live
the life
of a
child

She was beyond
childhood by then
The pawn
caught between two
sets of warring
religious factions
Hell-bent
on saving her soul

While the devil
she lived with
claimed her body
as his own

Now she lives the life
of an alcoholic
lost
lonely
desperate
immature
rootless
ruined

She has known
no salvation

Nor will she
ever

But they
pray for her soul
nightly

As the one
who got away

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