Part 1: Sacrifice and Sea Spray
Yearling pig sacrificed in my behalf, not
As goddess but as slave girl, pregnant by
Her master, for his drunken pleasures,
Death sentence I received. Servant as to
Slave, my life spared, cloth-wrapped pig
Heart presented as death proof, chains
Lost and coins given, on merchant ship
I boarded, growing heart womb-beating,
Destined for antique lands.
Perspective of open oceans, promise of
Desert towns, rising sun, starry nights,
Wind-filled sails, on deck I slept, splashed
By salty spray, sailing from Cyprus to
Distant Libya, camel caravan upon arid
Seas of sand, burnished faces accepted
Me, like them, I was of dark hair and
Eyes, healing shackle abrasions on ankles,
My name Zayda, my family war-killed.
By flickering camp fires, my companions
Offered food and drink, sleeping nights
Beneath starry nights, riding by rising sun,
Little feet kicking within, hiding rounding
Abdomen with dark, wind-flowing robes,
We arrived at tree-ringed oasis where an
Ancient temple provided resting shade,
To prophets my fellow travelers prayed,
Reverence devout, worshiping their god.
Whilst I knew not their god, slave girl now
Coinless and with child, who can say how
Deific voices stir hearts as desert winds
Reshape rippling sands? I felt life calling,
Knowing presence equal as child within.
Such were soul delights, amongst shepherds
At oasis I dwelled as family, son was born,
Named Kudret, “Mighty One,” after my
Father and our war-conquered clans.
Amongst shepherds, I remained, oasis and
Son, yet from this temple I would not leave,
My grazing flock satisfied at water’s edge
For I discovered fount of mystic writings,
Beckoning prophesies, solitary figure within
Cooling temple halls, dates and figs, nursing
Son, my brutal past sand-vanquished, by
Visions divine, my destiny was written on
cryptic rolls of ancient papyri.
Next is “Part 2: Dolius, Desert Wanderer.”