Catherine Barnett


The dirty sand everyone said was beautiful

wasn’t—it was dirty, or oily,

something turning it to hardness.

It was ugly when we were told

beautiful, shattering when it was

supposed to make us whole, cold

when it should have been warm

and all of us dressed in wrong clothes

because everything was wrong.


We walked the beach early,

lay down in the sand, and tried to sleep

there in the dune hardly a dune it was so low,

but away from the wind—


The locals told us not much ever

washes up on the beach.


How cold it got down by the water.

The water was cold.

The windsurfer wore a wet suit and sailed

back and forth like the birds.



Site is from Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced (Alice James Books, 2004).