I am an orphan. I lost my mother when I was six. My father was taken from me when I was seventeen. My brother never truly returned from the war. I do not know if I have any other family.
I am an exile, wandering in the desert. I'm trying to return Home, but I've forgotten where it is. I left the land of plagues almost three years ago.
I had thought the land of plagues was home enough. I never wanted for food, the shelter seemed sound, and the drink was good. Yes, the drink was very good. I had many friends, who seemed like family.
A time came when I began to hunger for something more. When I heard someone speak of “home,” I thought that might be what I longed for. Thus began my exile.
Now I am lost in the World, unsure of how exactly I lost my direction At first, all was well, and my heart burned within me as if Home were very close at hand. Then I took a wrong turn, or got distracted, and now I am lost.
I am an exile. I remember a loaf of bread that seemed enough. I remember a tent that was warm and welcoming and could have served. I remember a draught of wine which set my heart ablaze. But none soothed my longing, and I was left even hungrier.
I am an exile lost in the World I helped build. I am an exile who has wandered for thirty-some years through this desert. I'm thirsting for a Home I believe is close at hand, although unseen. I am an exile, crying out in this wilderness, “How long, 0 Lord, how long?”
Originally published March, 1986