Wilderness

here you cannot help
remembering King Lear, blind, forsaken
on that hostile, wind-lashed heath
of Hagar crouched beneath a dry shrub
shielding her son’s parched skin
against the mid-day sun’s belligerence
herself against despair

stones grow in the desert
the universe shrinks
prize and priority diminish
desire ebbs to fit uneasily
inside two starkly naked words:

I thirst