She washed the road’s dust on my face,
touched my weary hand with her bare fingers
briefly – like a sparrow flipping its wings
and left – watching me from afar.
I had no claim for justice, nor brothers or sons.
With me the thirsty herd and a blood stain,
while she watched me from afar –
dark daughter of the desert tribes of Arabia.
Forget the voice, forget the calling.
She was the first fire sent to me and I answered,
Ziphorah, the dark skinned Ziphorah -
Who cleaned my hair and face from the road’s dust.
Now I hear her voice and the voice of the slaves,
the voice of the children erased by a shadow
The waves of murderous waters and the bawling
of the golden calf – I hear her voice out of the tent.
In this desert I stand alone with my wooden staff.
Who are all those children I saved
when in an unnamed wheel on an unnumbered day
I helped the seven sisters of Median?
Copyright © João Camilo