My family regretted taking me on their last pilgrimage because prior to that trip I’d filled my mind with the scent of nature and kept my heart open to roll around in it for months during which period the world made love to me until permeating every inch of my skin, until my body carried the light weight of peace as it slowed my blood flow, my steps, time, sound and speech.  

On the trip I met Ganesh, gold and reciprocity where introductions were made on bended knee and it was there that everything was changed. Freedom became a slaughterhouse and wealth became the lubrication that slid ancient narratives over the dry cracked lips of poverty. 

Coins were given to visit epitaphs like bird seed and fed pre-purgatory imaginations where the deaths of martyrs infected the living with confirmation of their inadequacy in not being able to repay their ancestors with their lives nor future generations with their deaths. 

It was humbling, beautiful and tragic all at once but then again I was only a visitor, another outsider fascinated by a group of people who lived to take care of one another with methods distinguished by their chosen gods. 

I’d flown so many miles from home to land with the heaviness of realizing I’d never been allowed inside.