Wandering the desert

I have been cast out! Out
From the place that knows me no longer,
Where women sell almonds, pistachios
And gossip in the marketplace
To the barren wilderness where
Only the colours of ochre and blue
Exist, and sand stings my eyes,
Reminding me anew of the beauty
And the pain of small things.

The desert ghosts befriend me
And follow my footsteps. They sing
Of lands where the river always flows
And impossible flowers with colours
Never seen before blossom like stars
From the arid soil.

At night they are sad.

They sing of loves they have lost,
Riches faded away and saddest of all,
Lives unlived.

I tread the burning sands, passing
Lost cities where people have fled
Because the wells have dried up, and
Mirages of green lands seen through mists
Like the gauzy veils of a treacherous houri,
Until in a shift of sky, the ochre and blue
Are all that exist and all that matter,
And I see the multitude of shades contained
Within them.

One day I fall. I die.

I feel the rain on my skin
Crying a river. Flowers bloom
Scarlet and sapphire. I am a blossom
Of indigo and vermillion with a heart
Of gold.

I wake.

It is a mirage born of the treacherous
Heart of the desert. Yet my blood tingles
With the memory of sharpness of sap.

So I walk towards the place where
The river flows, impossible flowers
Blossom, and the villagers smile
And welcome me home. In the distance
The last flash of crimson in the violet sky
Is so beautiful that the flaming earth
Rises to meet it.


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