In the night sky, Arabs see al’awa’id,
the Mother Camels, a pattern of stars
that seem to gather around a calf
and protect her from hyenas.
In the life before this one, daughter,
I might have carried you for just over a year,
and delivered you to your first slow,
searing desert breaths.
The camel mare is the only mammal
who does not clean her infant
after birth, nor bite through the umbilical cord.
Another cord binds me to you;
it runs from brainstem
to lumbar region, with nerve roots,
dorsal roots, ventral roots,
the peripheral butterfly columns,
and the cauda equine (horse’s tail),
motor supply for the perineum
that brought you into light in late
September, a desert sunflower,
your eyes dolly-blue, to gift me
my happiest autumn.
A calf is born with eyes open.
Did you know camels always face the sun?
Their lovely long eyelashes
and their tears protect their eyes
from sand and grit and blindness.
We were nomads, in that other life;
maybe that is why I do not see you
as much as I would like, but we are bound
to each other nonetheless.
You’ll find me waiting in al’awa’id
even at the dawn of my next life.