When the oil is gone or there is no more need for ...When the oil is gone or there is no more need for it, this jaundiced desert will one day reclaim the land. It will not take eons to cover the concrete highways and bury the Starbucks in the shopping malls. It's a waiting game. The desert mountains surrounding Taif have been carved by the same incessant winds that carried to Abraham a demand for sacrifice, that heard the Son's agonizing question, "Why?" and delivered the songs of Gabriel to the Prophet. Now the desert shares nothing with us except for its loud, parched flurries and sand storms. It turns us yellow and dries us out like old newspapers. The bedouin still sleeps in the shade of his tent, waiting for the moon to rise. I wait for its cycles, the waxing, the full, the waning moon, the illumination, the pollination, the end of the month, wait for the months to pass, wait for my next time out. I awaken in dark solitude and listen to the voices beyond the walls and barbed wire, on the other side of the brown guards dozing behind their sand bags and guns. The muezzins cry out the greatness of God and His messenger. Each morning I stay in bed those five extra minutes listening to the voices, remembering your smile. I want to reach out for you but my hand is consumed by pitched dawn.