Apr 302010

Sally Allen McNall


Where the March rains fail the hand-tilled fields again

And fewer fishing boats with crimson nets put out each year

Where the Sahara shifts north and west, not slowly


Where rivers speak to the people in familiar voices

And the soil still speaks, the clouds, the burden of sun

Where the people have known for years what is going wrong


Where at all seasons the nomads arrive from the mountains

and every city wears its poor like a broken halo

Where the skills of millennia are not taught to the children


Where the heart of each desert city is walled and still beats

nothing is wasted, nothing is easy or obvious

I can see only the surface, the blank face of the future