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Bandits and White Sand, a Lament

by Jane Miller

                               Patrick’s Point Beach

It rains on the thoughtless, on the bored, on the faithful.
In my dreams of you, you are leaving
on horseback with your brown hair gliding away.

Cormorants leave in a cortege.
They drift above the water
undaunted by memory, the far-reaching white sand.

I know the endangered ones sleep
as though having given up their weight for spirit,
and this from my own body. Black birds, black birds.

If you stay won’t it just be a black rock in my mouth?
Better to return to the sea its white tears and sweat
than to pretend, as you did, its inhuman strength.

I didn’t imagine you so young, so without heart,
the way a place becomes indifferent after you know it.
The sea, the scar it makes each time it cuts the sand.


One of the winners of the 1978 YMHA Discovery Award was Jane Miller. Her work has appeared in Antaeus and The Antioch Review. (1978)

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