The Desert River

Chafing at its narrow levees, smashing upon and barging through stone, the Valuné leapt into the Cundrie Hills, easing out as the land softened. Lithe despite its bulk, humming, it inundated the dips and basins cradled between eternally verdant hills, crooning to them of beauty and splendour beyond the wildest swish of their most wilful grasses. Lavishing its abundance upon lake and affluent and ox-bow, it glided out of the land of plenty, and trickled to the crock-shaped hollows where began the Pyetivant Mista. Screened from the mountains by hillocks and mounds increasingly dour sprawled stretches of eroding, crumbling rock, sucked up grain by grain into the insidious sands lapping about them. Only the gnarled stubs and stubble that slashed across, nursed by the Valuné’s clogged trickle, circumvented their gluttony.

 Chugging its crippled way to the sea, the Valuné gave still with reckless abandon to every channel gouged out of the searing semi-desert, each bubbling rivulet tapering hopefully off. Guarded sedulously by the unquenchable cacti and the occasional stately date-palm some made it to the perpetually wilting fields; others, outstripping their escort, darted rashly desert ward, and were pounced on and strangled.

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