“The Desert, the City, & the Wilderness”
The Desert gives birth to many storms, but rarely ever rain,
We hold our mouths open to the sky and wait for the fall,
Only hoping one day to be permitted back to our homelands.
The blazing sun is ever brighter as we watch you tower toward the sky,
And the spirits show little triumph by intervention,
As the locusts and the doves intertwine in their flight.
The camel and the mule face each other, for the battle never ceases,
While the children underneath imagine a pouring to drown the drought.
We are growing to be strangers, unable to recognize the water brought forth,
All of us alone, strangers, thirsting in exile,
Oh, but the spirits, haunting and haunted, with us searching,
As the dust swirls and the scent of rain endures in our memories;
Surely we will soon be returned to our homeland.
The City never casts out strangers, but we will always be strangers here.
The buildings swallow all of us and even the sky.
We cannot remember our homelands.
We know ourselves in the shop windows
On the hazy days when the reflections of ourselves
Keep us from looking inside.
We wonder if the lines on our faces are from years or from sorrows.
The city breathes in heaving breaths as heavy feet destroy the hopeful sprout
That rises through the cement.
We wander through the thickness of crowds without seeing a face we have known.
We are frightened by the drunkards when some days everyone seems a drunkard.
Like them, we sometimes trip on the crooked pathways
Through the city and bloody our knees.
This helps us remember we are breathing.
The city is full of ghosts.
We came upon one once while we were searching;
We couldn’t hear what he was saying for the noise of the trafficking.
The city never casts out strangers, or ghosts, but we will always be strangers here.
The Wilderness is no stranger to the sorrowful or to the spirits,
We follow those streams until we are led to our homelands
Which were once forgotten, but never disappeared.
Those ghostly faces, whom we are fearful for,
Are covered with the acid and the ashes of scorned lovers,
While the daughters hold their bouquets of flame.
The llama guards the sheep but Sisyphus never ceases,
And the shadows lurking nearby are hardly seen in this light.
We are strangers to one another, standing shoulder to shoulder alone,
And even stranger now is the waning of the light.
Oh, but John is nearby and all the spirits are haunting and haunted;.
They remind us that many times you have visited the wilderness,
So we wait for you there, to return us to the homeland.
© 2013 Marie Porterfield Barry, All Rights Reserved