The Empty Quarter
(Ar Rub Al Khali, Saudi Arabia)

Because there’s no one there, some dream
of crossing it. Perhaps they think
the desert’s question marks will help
them find themselves, or even test
if they’re the right stuff. For the rest

it’s just a dead zone on the map
where madmen go – no showers, no loos,
no shopping malls or TV shows.
Why slog across a waste of sand
as though it were the Promised Land?

For me, what counts is hope – that soon,
in this dry here and now, we’ll both
scent moisture in the air, and start
a journey too long put aside,
on which, at last as one, we’ll ride.