Across these golden, fiery sands,
singing wind with sculpting hands
scoops and furrows, digs and funnels
over bones and ancient tunnels.
In the evening heat I walk
while the desert vultures stalk
every step with raucous call,
waiting for my form to fall.
Mortal scythes in timeless clime
hop and flap and bide their time.
Mirages in the distance sway
‘Rest, and rot,’ they seem to say.
‘Sand is soft and warm and dry.
Rest your burdens, rest and die.
Never will they find you here.
Those who search will disappear.’
‘Traveler, why are you here?
To bury love? To uproot fear?
Why walk into the burning sun
alone, afraid, the only one?’
‘Have you a reason? Mission? Goal?
Perhaps a precious gem you stole?’
As the evening came about,
I would never make it out.
Laying down to die, I write
letters to describe my plight.
Now my final grasp rescinds,
sending them by desert winds.
If someone should find me here,
should my words e’er reach an ear,
mark them down, and mark them well:
Deserts are an earthly hell.
In these sun-scoured, blighted lands,
challenge not the slaughtering sands.