Leaving the safety of the road,
I walk out into desert,
Feet shuffling through sand.
There is only silence here,
Silent as an empty church.
Cliffs made from red sandstone
Look down upon my thirsty body.
Higher up is white limestone—
Where once an ocean flowed.
No more lapping sounds…
Only the scorching sighs of summer winds.
One day my own body
Will be like a dried river,
Bones petrified to stone,
Worn down, hobbling along in
Rivers of sandstone—speechless, broken.
Back in the days when rain fell,
Fish swam upstream among green rushes,
Flooding along deep valleys,
Finding their way to the sea.
Now their fossils lie under my feet.
How do we keep up
With all that’s gone before?
We cannot bring back water
From limestone made from dried bones,
Compressed now into mountains
Shimmering as diamonds in moonlight.
Does it help to close our eyes in prayer?
Will God summon water out of stone?
I fear my faith is worn down, exhausted,
Dry as dust in the stifling heat of noon.
When my bones are transformed to stone,
Will those who still speak pause to say “Amen”?