The Crying of the Locust

Poem by Sally Elhennawy

Art by Aiza Bragg

the hay stalks whistle ‘neath the dunes

a weathered tree

             stands on a hill

silence settles on the desert at noon

a heavy quiet, hot and still.

it seems no life can flourish here, 

deep within this hollow land,

as rock erodes, 




and crumbles into sand.

                                             held high

the cacti stand, lone heads 

lined up in rows of 

                  three and four

a vigil held for those who die          

           and for those never born.  

the wind hums out a solemn tune

   a ballad crooned in whispers low.

the sun that serenades the moon;

   a love with no place to go.

mirage appears, a fleeting hope—

(ephemeral) and full of song.

the midday light and dusk elope;

it seems they courted all along.

the desert smiles in defeat,

its layered 


      brought to light;

an oracle whose lips retreat

in deference to unswept plight.


yet who is here to hear the flash?


to see the spark of revelation?


the desert’s echo turns to ash,




           to devastation.

and then, for a moment, life is found


the desert’s dusty sighing:

slow and mournful, a tender sound,

the locust, alone, is crying.