I am thirsty.
I lick the crusted blood from my cracked lips.

The baobab tree leans away from me
Stretching his branches eastward as if I were diseased.
I press my leprous lips to his waterlogged trunk
And wish I could drown myself.

I am lost in a desert.
The only water source is encased in his body.
I cannot drown in this dry place nor can I thrive.
I am parched and my roots stretch into empty air.

The baobab reaches too far
And crashes—
His stomach bursting over the dry land,
Over me.

He is dead.

I am drinking and drowning and—
I am glad to be alive.


Inspired by a picture of a gigantic baobab tree in the Kalahari Desert. I found it on a blog about a family that traveled around the world. They said that they could hear the water sloshing inside the trunk of the tree. The image of this huge tree filled with water in the middle of the desert stuck with me and this was the result.