Plant 1

By Robbi Nester

To the Bedouin, scanning the impermanent
landscape of sand from the back
of a swaying camel, the sea is an angel.
The desert extends to the shore, sandstone
escarpments gradually giving way to waves,
so similar in form they might have been poured
from the same mold, fine red sand
and the bluest water imaginable,
tantalizing but undrinkable,
refusing to take any form for long.

On the darkest night in the Negev,
the shepherd senses the desert’s
invisible presence, the caracal
and hyena, the subtle rustle of the viper.
The dunes dream of lying once more
at the bottom of an ancient sea.
Far away, the surf rises,
arched wings of the angel,
messenger of the desert God,
whose silence contains everything.

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