Arthur Coleman

The Desert

Cope with alienation from
the person who has driven you
to this desert to walk through
without shade in the hot blaring sun.
You weren't at home either in
the place that you departed from
and the people who had been there,
who shook hands and welcomed
you in weren't on their way
to any place they could take you.
This unease is so light and ephemeral
it can be pushed away with every
onward step, kicking rocks
to roll in the dust and come to rest
at a point you've passed already
before you've even reached it.
Oases are mirages you enjoy
imagining settling in and napping
with an arm draped across
your dreaming eyes as they discover
truth in the thirst that acridly parches
your throat; it can't be slaked
because your decision that water
in abundantly stacked glass bottles
back at the final vestige of civilization
would be too cumbersome to carry
on the trek has caught up to you.
There is nothing here but spittle
and that is rapidly evaporating.
There's blood too, of course
but its source is inaccessible;
no one can dig in the dirt
as long as they are spadeless;
and the exact spot where to unearth
the promised riches of heaven
would be a blind stab in the dark.
Return to her and the half-understood
ways she has of seeing things
by stopping where you are
and letting her approach, arrive.