by Renee Williams

Crossing the cattle grate, home.
Sand dunes stand tall, lining a short stretch of pavement.
And then…
sand, miles and miles of sand,
pounding surf, ocean,
waves crashing, a sonorous boom,
breaking close to shore,
bubbles and foam lingering.
feral mustangs and mares, sanderlings, cormorants, terns,
brown pelicans and loggerheads,
willets and cattle egrets,
dolphins and humpbacks.
Sea oats dot the dunes.
Currencies of knobbed whelks, coquina clams, Scotch bonnets, and fulgurite.
The riotous cry of the laughing gull.
And stillness…

the salt air fresh from the Atlantic,
filling my lungs,
breathing easily
without the ragweed, pollen, dust and bad memories of Appalachia.
Wind whipping my hair into a wild torrent of tangles.

Sand soft beneath my toes, pulls me in
closer to the water
with each passing wave,
my feet,
sinking a little deeper,
tying me to this place.
I would never run.

Horses do plenty of that,
galloping down the beach,
long, powerful legs, such a fierce gait,
bay beauties with golden manes,
descents of those long ago Spanish stallions, survivors of shipwrecks,
now led by the mighty Rambler,
a mirage of jet,
his obedient harem following suit.
Nickering, neighing, hooves beating the sand, a thunderous applause announcing arrival.
Mere humans, granted audience.

Forty degrees with rain turning to flurries.
Browned maple leaves scattered.
4.6 mph winds and
grey clouds coat the sky.
Darkness will come at 4:45 tonight
and 4:42 tomorrow night.
Kleenex, a scarce commodity,
Delsin cough syrup, even rarer.
Nonchalant evergreens persist.
The roads are getting icy.


Renee Williams received a Master of Arts and Sciences in English from Ohio University in 1991 and retired from teaching at Hocking College in 2019. Since her retirement, she has been working on poetry and photography. Her poem, “Misguided,” was published on the New Verse News site; the Lothlorien Poetry Journal and the Literary Yard websites have posted her poems, as well. “Use Grief” can be seen in the latest edition of Common Threads by the Ohio Poetry Association. Alien Buddha Press has published her work in the November zine and Microdoses anthology.

The Cold Coming