Traversing the vast Kalahari,
a threadbare bandana kept the grit
at bay, sheltering teeth and nostrils.
Damp from the condensation
of my labored breathing, the fabric chafed.
I faltered briefly at the ancient portal, its
rocky underpinnings a deterrent,
the arid plains before me a windswept desolation
of crumbling decay. I surveyed the old kingdom
and pressed on. Soon, silence on all sides.
I lowered my kerchief, keen with relief
knowing I was safe from my pursuers
as sizzling skies gave way to subtle blues and pinks.
The wind ceased in its fury, no longer perpendicular
to my forward momentum. Uncoupled from
my bulging rucksack, I bedded down for the night
sheltered by the cool darkness.
Come dawn, I would resume, fearful once more.
Rest, now, for this body and a rekindling of the spirit.
after years of emptiness,
there is nothing to hold me back
despite my fears,
despite the longing,
despite the doubt.