I approached you quietly,
A daughter returning home.
Silent feet, hopeful eyes –
As you watched me with your gentle face
And cradling a little infant.
You smelled of roses, sweet fragrance
Of a Garden somewhere.
But you are a desert mother,
Borne of the dry earth and stark skies –
Acacias and palms whisper as you walk
And olives grow lush above streams.
You cover your head with cloth,
Shield from the hot sun.
Still you smile with rose-petal lips.
There was no sand at the shrine,
No reminder of heat and grit –
Only vivid symbols of red and pink.
I placed my offering of tiny prickly pine needles
Next to ornate flower arrangements.
Then, I walked away from the Garden
And remembered the desert mother.