The Wailing Woman – artist unknown

I did not return,
To the far Salinas,
The desolate salt flats,
The white Salinas,
Full of phantoms,
Wanting to be,
Haunting me,
The Salinas of ever-restless winds,
Forever blowing under my door.

At first, I thought I did not return,
Because of the bitter taste of the salt in the air,
Because of the treeless plains,
And, the disillusioned sand.

I thought,
I did not return,
Because the searing sun,
Would strike my face with a slap.
I thought,
The lack of rain would sober me up.
I would be disoriented by the absence of rivers,
And, the dearth of things,
Flowing downstream.

I thought, it was,
Because of the nonexistence,
Of the intensions of clouds.
I thought, it was,
Because I did not want to see,
The dizzy gleam in the old prospector’s eye,
Lost in his own mind,
Wandering, without remembering why,
Into mirages and illusive mountains,
Oasis daydreams and elusive fountains.
I thought I did not want to encounter,
The outlines of yesterday,
And, ghosts,
Floating with the rise of the moon.

I did not want to walk over the dead ground,
To tread on hollow roots,
To hear the empty sighs of the earth under my feet,
Full of memories and reverberations.

I did not want to be struck by the wild delirium,
Caused by the rattlesnake’s bite.
I did not want to taste the overly ripe apples,
To smell the odor of stinging, alkaline springs,
To feel salt crystals grow on my skin.
I did not want to see how quickly my blood would dry,
And, disappear into the soil when I die.

But, in the end, it was none of these things.
In the end, I did not return,
Because I feared to hear,
The sighs of the setting sun,
Welcoming the throbbing whimpers,
Which rise with the first, faint star,
The piercing sound of unforgiving tears,
And, the lonely banshee cries,
From the broken heart of the Wailing Woman,
Infusing the lightning and the thunder,
With the expression of extinction,
And, the oppression of oblivion,
Bemoaning the demise of a people,
The end of a civilization,
Ghosts of sons and daughters,
Filling the omnipresent sky,
Between the rolling dunes,
And, the scratching thorns,
With the moans of failing rituals,
And, a forgotten past, falling gods,
Flowing out of yesterday’s darkness,
From the Mayan shore,
To the center of the world.