El alma

del mundo.

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The mother of the world.

Her singing is like a guttural lullaby that emerges from the depths of the earth and joins mortals in the form of a melody. It’s the water that ows in the rivers and the sand that forms the dunes. She’s black and dark like the night and soft and white like a forbidden embrace grasping the hips or a stolen kiss on the nape. She sings like a bountiful mermaid who wants only that the senses should be lost to keep them out of danger. Her voice, raised up from the depths of the Nile valley, is as old as the Pharaohs and guards in its undulations the secrets of gods and men, of legendary animals and of myths. And she is the throat that carries it, that rocks it and drags it from one shore of the world to the other in a boat of cedar and acacia.

From being dark and dazzling she has gone on to seem a timeless being oating in a nebula that bewitches everything around her. Her mantra of obsidian is like a cloak spreading out around her feet and gradually devouring everything beneath her. It swallows it up, turning it into dust and ies, and every now and then, like a supernatural power, it returns it to the earth in a new form. Her heart over ows with honey and beer but her breast is almost dry from suckling children who forgot they loved her. She sings of camels and sh, of deserts and palm trees, and they praise other gods and don’t even remember she exists. They don’t remember that long before any prophet it was a woman who set their feet on the earth, who sang them to sleep and who drained her breasts so that they could grow.

The sand that ows in her veins has nothing to do with the sand that bleeds in her eyes and has made the Mother of the World blind. Bewildered, she tries to nd the faces of her children in the storm. She searches for her daughters in the cloth and tries to recognise their touch on gloved hands. Mother of the World weeps. The heavens turn red when the murmur of her lullaby rises and in Giza the great pyramid is penetrated by the empty sound that bounces off its stone blocks. A mantle of darkness engulfs sons, daughters, villages, the moment has come for the dam to burst and for the Nile once again to ood the paths, leaving its fertile silt on the tomb of those who forgot who she was.

by Nuria tesón