Desert Tryptich

Crunch-snik skitter-slide and trudge
has been my journey
step by step for long years.
The shifting sands lugubriously,
mockingly move and break promises
of direction, affirmation, guidance
and I am left thirsty again,
having drunk not even gall.
Yet sands still mount in dunes,
in waves, in mute grinding grains
of dull grey gold, and
will not end,
will not stop,
will not relent.

I have discovered
that one doesn’t die of thirst
when the water-words never come,
when the oasis is a cruel ostrich
buried in sand to avoid seeing me.
No, one lives on, persistently
dead in that cruel and sharp core,
throbbing and pulsing pain

(who knew
death hurt
so much,
so long,
so wide,
so deep?)

I turn to survey the cold and thriving
stubborn rim of flourishing thorns
and brush and stunted trees
that snigger behind my back
as they spot one of their own
without the sense to stop
walking and put down roots
and become assimilated.

Mountains stained
blood-light red and purple-bloat
rise in front, and promise a desert end.
Rain falls and I feel blessed relief
on my cheeks, eyes and tongue,
thirst promising to slake
and they touch the sands
and are swallowed up
by hunger so great it is as if
the rain was never there.
Crunch-snik scrinch skitterslide
towards those lofty promises
capped with frozen drink that
shouts to my heart

“Your fire, your fire will melt me and
I will soothe your dry throat always and
you will thirst no more”.

But when I get there, I find I was wrong,
for the snow crunch-sniks like sand,
I skitterslide and trudge as always
thru the same cold and empty world
And I see that like sand,
snow will not melt to become elixirs
I so desperately long for.

I will always long to be beautiful, desired, worthy…
but those jewels belong
to sun, sand, snow and
shall never be apples
in this cactus orchard of desert
to which I cross.

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