Hyperbaton (hy-per’-ba-ton): 1. An inversion of normal word order. A generic term for a variety of figures involving transposition, it is sometimes synonymous with anastrophe. 2. Adding a word or thought to a sentence that is already semantically complete, thus drawing emphasis to the addition.

Time slipping by, off the clock by measured ticks flying. So fast that the blur turned into a gale, picking up sand and other debris and filing my skin, not to the point of bleeding, but scraping and burning from friction’s exposure.

I had read about this phenomenon before. Every 100 years it occurs. It is called the Viper’s Hiss. I was driving a short stretch from Jubba to Tanya. I don’t know what possessed me to do this—you’d think I was an archeologist or something like that. I wasn’t in the oil business either. I was just a guy from Dayton, Ohio who woke up one morning with an unquenchable desire to roam the deserts of Saudi Arabia. I tried everything I could think of to make the desire go away. I went for long walks. I watched endless episodes of Prime TV. Then, I went to the library and could not restrain myself from researching the Saudi desert region. That’s when I discovered Sheba, in her time the wealthiest person in the world. I became obsessed with her. I dreamed of her. I made up fantasies about us as lovers. I reveled in the endless wealth—the abundance of everything precious and semi-precious she held sway over. I wanted to experience it.

I couldn’t stand it any more. I sold everything I owned (except my house) and bought a one-way ticket to Riyadh. I brought a backpack with bare essentials. Flying in, the desert was vast. On the ground it was blistering hot. I rented a Land Rover and took off toward the desert, anxious to find an echo or vestige of Sheba. All I found was the terrible storm. It took me by surprise while I was away from the Land Rover, exploring what looked like an oasis. I was hanging onto a date palm for dear life, actually blowing like a flag in the wind. Suddenly, the storm stopped. The sun shone. I saw a woman encrusted with gold with her arms outstretched toward me. I got up off the ground and started to walk toward her. She clapped her hands and disappeared. There was a tiny reflection of light on the ground where she had stood. I walked over and picked it up—it was a small piece of carnelian.

I am safe at home again. My trip to Saudi Arabia was insane. I was unprepared, I almost died. When I was leaving, I hid the piece of carnelian in my shorts and smuggled it out. I had it set in a small gold ring I wear on my pinkie. When I think of Sheba, the ring gets warm and I have to sit down.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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