New Land IV.jpg


As he leaned down toward the sand

His knees creaked under

Sensible cotton trousers

And then grew quiet again.


He sunk his finger between

A million grains

To write a message there—

First a W and then an

H followed by a




He drew a circle around the word

As though the spelling alone

Lacked power to

Catch the eye of anyone

Who might be qualified

To enter the quandary

With him

For him

Take it from his hands

Lift the weight

And carry it away.



His hair used to be black—

Until it was grey—

And in the wind that

Hovered above land,

After being cast

From the sea,

His curls lifted and fell

Like waves

Answering the whims

Of the moon and




He placed his hands

On top of his thighs and stood

Once more facing the

Mystery of tossing foam,

His question scrawled


And below—

In the center of himself—

Doubt churned

Under a stomach filled with

Acid and disaster.



Like bricks,

A collage of faces

A map filled with places

Melancholy traces

Unending races

Erected a wall inside his soul

Too high to climb

Too wide to choose

Whether left or right

Might end the

Mounting fight.



Hiding in plain sight

He felt alone


He was not—

She stepped in close

From a shadowy distance

To share his pool of light

Breaking through

The clouds

Illuminated by the night

The two stood staring,




“How did you find me?”

He asked—

She had no certainty

To give,

“I don’t know,”

Was all she said—

He brought one

Hand up to his mouth

As though to stop

The words from coming out,

“I needed to be found.”



They stood above

The crudely scribbled, “Why?”

Respected its presence

As a minnow respects a shark


They refused to bow their heads

In reverence for the question and,

Instead, they walked together

Hand in hand, and

Waited for answers to

Roll in with the tide.


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

(Photo credit: This poem was inspired by German artist Thorsten Dittrich‘s piece, New Land IV.