Monday, August 1, 2011


Long before you searched my secrets

I am she who began life with nothing

but a handful of dust in a basin

I was told to squat thereon

Upon stocky muscled legs

To hatch my young ones

Yearning to be born

I was advised to till the land

And grow fruit trees

For the feeding of the nations in my womb

Instead I spilled the dust

Of the birthing bowl

Upon loamy soils

Where meandering tributaries of great rivers end

The Nile, the Congo, the Issa Beer

After miles of winding and branching

And years of thinning and tapering

Among palm trees and olive groves

Where sweet date and pomegranate grow

With sugars rich and succulence

There pools of water were found

Where hippos swam and elephants drank

And hunters drew the lessons of the hunt

Carved out and dyed on old rock faces

I called aloud to my wayward children

Cried to my grandchildren to trample my back

Ease the knots between tendon and bone

With chubby brown fingers

They drew pictures on my back

Visions of a drifting world

On shifting sands stirred by the wind

Men on camels wrapped up and veiled

Carrying their homes upon their backs

Herding family, cattle and goats

From a country of sand to another of rock

The sand prevailed, the waters died

Salt remained within the rock

With one accord creation walked

Searching for the trail of the lost waters

In the valleys and gorges left behind

Calling for the waters between oases

To suffuse the air and return once more

To the sands as rain

So the serpent asked for a maid each year

To make golden rain for old Wagadu

Let sweep his waters through the sand

Deposit gold upon the land

The sacrifice was one we could not make

And Bida was slain upon the ground

So the sands creep on from day to day

Stirred up and whisked by a hot dry wind

I am she who remains among sand dunes

Mapping tributaries in the sand

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