… when we are literally sick and tired,
we turn back, and see others running behind us
with a bit more energy,
hands reaching toward us,
voices hoarse and weary:
Here, let me take that while you rest a bit.

Video of the Ukrainian man
holed up in the steel factory with hundreds of others,
knowing his life is numbered in hours,
reminds me of the whole of human history
of atrocities,
each heralding what seemed the horrific end of civilization,
or just one village,
one family,
one child.

Despairing as my body weathers this overload
of empathy
I turn away only to see
someone reaching toward me.
What I hand them,
what I carried all this time
is neither burden nor baton,
but a torch
to light their way.