One side of summer
in the city and countryside alike,
aside from youthful dreams
during kitschy sunrise hours,
hungry encounters with Eros
in nights of the full moon,
and clarity after its storms,
are the visit from an ancient lady.
They call her Madame Sahara.
When the heat just never ends,
when it’s furrowed the orphaned fields,
when its breath wrings out all last drops
from rivers beds,
when all living creatures have stopped aching
for sips, let along fresh gulps,
when only old soils carry your every step,
that’s when Madame Sahara has arrived
in the village.
She comes from that place
where there’s no use in arguing
for food, shelter or forgiveness.
In her dunes, caravan leaders live on
seven dates a day.
Country boarders mingle and end
in the sour sarcasm of Fata Morganas.
Into her cape,
Jesus and Mohammed escaped
for long walks toward wisdom.
So when she’s left her territory,
and found you in your tracks,
all explanations and justifications subside.
She knows them when she hears them,
and has heard them all before.
All that will now carry you through
and over to the flip-side,
the quiet and humble kind.
I wonder what would happen
if I walked toward her preemptively
and in eager anticipation
rather than wait
until the teacher knocks.
I cannot prepare for it all these days
but I sure can clean up the mess.
So when the sand rolls in
and Madame Sahara sits down for tea,
I’m done talking
and in her tongues,
she begin to speak.