Trammeled earth underneath
swirls behind a file of travelers,
en route to the next oasis.
Ancient traditions reveal in the light
of shared purpose
subjugating personal conflict
to the whims of motion.
Mules walk alongside men
carrying loads destined as dowrys
for mercurial women singing
falsettos of hope, desire, virginity.
Children dance among loose hens
and furry goats
while mothers keep a watchful eye
lest one stray.
Wrinkly-faced men recount bygone battles
between swigs of some raw brew,
chuckles easing the load of destiny
on scarred feet.
When the dust settles
there is no trace of the passing group
save the faint smell of manure
and a hymn of hope
passed down the line.