In this desert there were:
Giant stones from fallen temples
Statues of winged women with their heads broken off
their eyes were blank carved eyes of statues
(even in the sun)
temples fallen in at the top, but opened to caverns below
with carved walls and floors
cool and dark
with shadows that moved without sound
they prayed to empty alters and murals of gods
cracked with age
(why do I hear water running?)
There are many temples in the desert
(Some not as ruined)
(Some with Things living inside)
and I think they might be connected if you go down deep enough,
But I never try.
There was a story I almost knew
a king and his people travel the desert
they meet a wall.
One by one, the king's men climb it.
At the top they cry, "How beautiful!"
then fall over the side and--
I'm grown now and know how it happened.
About the spirits on the other side,
desert sirens calling men to their deaths, eating their corpses,
And the King's priest who went to the wall
And banished them with prayer.
But I didn't know it then.
I'd stopped the story
And the desert in my head
Why did they fall?
My brain rotted from the inside out
Full of sun and sand
Then I met a statue in the desert
Broken Ozymandias who hated the world he thought he ruled
I met bull-bodied men
a little gold smith
a boy with a limp
The desert grew.
It's still there.