The Desert of Egypt
by Opal Palmer Adisa
The desert is a beautiful, frightening place, an endless stretch of land, mounds of sand, and no form of life in sight. Every time I drive through it, whether during the hot steaming day or the balmy night, I pray for safety, pray the vehicle does not break down, pray the driver doesn’t go mad and lose his way, pray that I move through it alive and safe.
The desert shrinks my adventurous spirit. I do not harbor any fantasies about being lost in the desert. I do not have any need to rent a jeep and go plowing through its center to find its heart. I do not want to attempt to conquer it, the humidity of its heat rising in this 40 degree centigrade (104 Fahrenheit) blinds and stunts me, and I marvel how others, the Egyptians, conquered this land and still do.
While I hunger to know the secrets of the Bedouins who still live and move throughout this land, there is something primitive and unknown that I fear about the desert like I fear a python, like I fear a diabolical spirit, like I fear fear itself. Yet, as contradictory as it is, I am mesmerized by its beautiful and alluring spirit also, its magical form, its complex personality, its arid disposition. There are many deserts all over the world, the ten largest in case you want to visit are: Antarctic, Arctic, Sahara, Arabian, Gobi (Asia) Kalahari, Patagonia (South America), Great Victoria (Australia), Syrian and Great Basin Desert in North America. I don’t know if I will attempt to visit them all. But deserts are also transformed. Although the root of the word comes from ecclesiastical Latin dēsertum (originally "an abandoned place"), Le Gouna that was once desert is now very populated and a site for tourists. However, the desert is waiting its turn to descent again, despite the palm trees grassy fields and golf courses that have been imported.
hello old girl
with dry skin
why do you stand out naked
during the middle of the day
bare your teeth and turn your face up
for the sun to kiss it to blister
some think you are beautiful
and in some ways you are
but your wide outstretched arms
scare me your scaly long-limbed legs
your seemingly even skin
that traps the eyes
your greed to possess
scare me away
Causes Opal Adisa Supports
California Poets in the Schools
Homeless Shelter for Pregnant Women