Desert

There are no mountains in the desert.
Where do I leave her offerings here?
Strange trees sprout from rocky outcrops
Dark fruit of a dry and gritty land.
Mismatched crows stand around, dust-coloured and idle.
Checkpoints and barbed wire fences barricade the way
Between me and the rough hints of green.

The spirits of the desert are silent.
They watch, wary of the stranger from the hills
Who talks to them as though they had known mist and breezes.
Daughter of the nations, of a foreign land.
גוי.

I do not know who laid these stones, who cast the sand from his fist.
This land was shaped with angel’s trumpet-blast,
Not with giants’ absent-minded footfall.
Where can I flee from your presence here?*
I seek valleys and seashores, but there is only you.

There are no mountains in the desert
And no water shapes a path through the dust.
The thirsty ground gulps great mouthfuls of Adam’s precious ale.
Alien storms bring sand, not rain,
For the whims of a foreign storm-god.

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*Psalm 139

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