The People Of The Empty Quarter

(for Nomad’s Quill)

We recognize each other
The way that werewolves are supposed to be able to
I think it’s the eyes
That thousand yard stare
Eyes that restlessly search some inner horizon
For gray charcoal marks of distant smoke
Or flights of circling vultures
But we always know
In the cautious lift of glass
Sniff the water first to brand it as fair or foul
Sleeping with one eye open is a myth
You shut them both
To hide the fact that you are alert
Ears will tell you everything you need to know
We are the forsaken people
The people of the wasteland
The people of the empty quarter
It is not that we dislike the people of the coastline and forest
Or fail to trust them
We share their feasts
Both the sacred and profane
We smile their smiles on our outside faces
Sometimes we join in their dances of celebration
A harvest a wedding a winter survived and overcome
We do not despise the wetlanders
They are not our kind
We are the desert people
The people of stone and sun and killing winds
We have scrubbed our skins raw with sand
Our blood runs thick
Our eyes are burned black from the glare
Of dead white sun on dead white land
We are the people of the empty quarter
We know what it is to be alone
Separated from one another by a distance greater than the loudest scream can carry
We see the forest
Lush and green
We see the fields
The grain the fruit the all things good that grow
That is not our home
We are visitors here
And it is a fine land
Full of hope and love and friendship
But we are the people of the empty quarter
And we can live nowhere else
We fear death by water
Our bones
Sunbleached while still within us
Call out for the arid land
The empty land
We are the people of the empty quarter.

About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle.
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