Judith Wilkinson

The Mexican Woman Who Died in the Desert

I crossed every emptiness thinking
there was a fate for me beyond the border,
a city raised out of dust to harbour us.

The first emptiness was the hole quarried in me
by those I left behind.

The second emptiness: parting with myself as he entered me,
taking it as a rite of passage.

The third: the bodies our group stumbled on:
pilgrims defaced by sand.

The fourth: scavenger fears circling us –
the stranglehold of a vacated sky.

I knew there was space inside me for the desert.
I knew there was space in me beyond the desert.
I know I can walk through the nameless night.

But this desert is absolute
and without end.

© Judith Wilkinson

Judith Wilkinson is a British poet and translator living in Groningen, the Netherlands. She has had two collections of her own poetry published by Shoestring Press (UK), and many collections of translations published in the UK. She is currently working on a collection of ‘desert poems’, which explore the desert experiences of different characters, some real, some fictional (adventurers, artists, mystics and refugees, among others).

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