Desert Stones

Desert Stones January 23, 2017


It was my lover at the door.

I heard his voice

so low

I could not make out words. I saw his hand

at the latch

dripping myrrh.

When I opened for him, he was gone.

I went out to search for him, street after lonely street, the whole world being at rest.

I saw the city watchmen, and foolishly I asked, “Have you seen the one my heart loves?”


The watchmen beat me

they raped me

they took my cloak

they bound me hand and foot and threw me naked

out into the darkness

not the darkness of the city, shot through here and there with street lamps til they cannot tell the day from night

but the darkness of the desert where nothing can live.

There I stayed.

The desert stones cut me and did not let me rest

they cut the cords that bound me

until I was free

and I walked—

not back to the city

but into the desert where nothing can live, in search of my lover.


I walked until morning but morning never came.

I walked until summer but summer never came.

I walked to the ends of the earth, but the earth never came to an end.

I walked until I starved, and then I ate the stones.

I saw my lover and the lord of the world

He asked for a sign–

“Command these stones to become bread”

but no sign was given

for the stones were already bread.

And the Lord of the World departed from that place

and my lover was taken from my sight.


I set my face like flint, and walked til I came to the mountain.

The side of the mountain was glass

the glass that forms when lightning strikes the desert

and I could see my face in the mountainside

as if the mountain was me.

At the top of the mountain I saw the Beloved and the Ewe Lamb


and above them was my lover,

dripping myrrh,

his flesh all torn by desert stones.


When I touched the mountainside

it crumbled into sand,

and the sand was in my eyes so I could not see

and my ears so I could not hear

and on my tongue so I could not prophesy

or taste whether it was bread

or desert stones.

At the top of the mountain, I saw that my lover was gone, having descended to the dead.

And so I died.


And having died, I arose again

And I was lifted up above the stones

above the desert

above the mountain

until I saw the city no longer at rest.

I saw the Jews, the Gentiles, the Latins and the Greeks,

the old and the new together

the clean and the unclean

binding my lover

and casting him out

onto the desert stones.

I could see the writing on the walls of the city


you who stoned the prophets

you who killed the Son of Man

Your sins shall be laid bare

and not a stone shall be left upon another

until you become the desert and the desert becomes you.


And then I felt the fingers in the nail marks

and the hand thrust deep in my side

and I was one flesh with my lover

and I heard his voice

so low

but this time I could hear the words he spoke.

My bride, I was with you all along.


(image via Pixabay)

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