Desert, Where Is Your Water?
copyright 1998 by Tracy Marks
Desert, where is your water?
In what cactus flower may I sip your wine?
Yet you, my barren home, have fed me
With your heated heart and howling sands
Strewn by windstorms.
How am I to abandon you -
Your wild wastes, your desolate dunes
Which leave me parched and yearning?
How desperately I hoard
Each sunburnt drop of water
You sparingly serve me;
How painfully I unearth
And relive my past,
In each excavation, digging
Into your subterranean depths,
Questing for your secret nourishment.
You, my savage land,
Far from the Lake, far
From the Water Mother -
What Earth Mother are you, so bleak in face,
So thin and hard your wasted body?
Has no one held you, soothed you,
Plucked you with warm watery limbs
From those scorching tendrils of fire
Which brand your soul?
Have you only promising mirages
Which tempt and tease?
How can you, who have not fed,
Feed those who beseech you,
Those who seek moisture
From your familiar stones?
They turn to you repeatedly,
The pilgrims, like me,
Seeking lands far from home -
Pilgrims who love only that which eludes them,
That which burns them,
That which punishes their hunger with thirst,
Their thirst with sunblistered visions
Of tomorrow's wombs,
Or past oases which never sustained them.
They turn to you
Rather than risk drowning in the waters,
Rather than risk the quenching of the fire,
Rather than risk the soft
Soothing embracing unfamiliar arms
of your Sister, The Lake.