Dune Tyson West


By Tyson West

I can’t recall now if my brother and I were Cub Scouts, Campfire Boys or Indian guides

In my Niles, Michigan second grade

Eisenhower golfed at Burning Bush and I was learning to love worries of his heart attacks and

Soviet rockets.

Dad, defiant as usual, would not accept cancellation of

Our tribe’s camping trip to Warren Dunes State Park

Thunderstorms were prophesied to charge us from the great lake.

He decreed we were ready and going anyhow

Then. I could fret my fear of lightning.

Dad drove our ’56 pink and white Buick three hole station wagon

Westward along two lane roads through forests I’ve long forgotten

To the mysteries of time and sand and water that have never forsaken me.

I first met time in school yard gravel

Hauled up from the river to fill a trench or two

At recess we gleaned its pebbles for indian beads

Cylindrical polished chert with stringing holes drilled

In the center of each bead shaped by long dead hands.

Long ago, dad proclaimed, the Powhatan tribe had lived here, safe from thermonuclear war

I had no reason then

Not to disbelieve him.

Time now ran ahead to initiate me to water and sand

We unloaded our musty canvas tent and red plaid flannel sleeping bags

At the place of sand shifting under the west wind.

My brother and I laughed through the sparse grass

Ran along a beach with no rocks to throw

Until endless dusk trailed away over the lake

While dad pitched the tent under bleak indigo sky and built our campfire

Only the wind intruded to smoke our sands.

In fresh air exhaustion from climbing ever rising dunes

Far from the lights of town

Sprawled on a sand mountain, that instant before sleep swallowed me

I suddenly grasped more stars lay above

Than grains of sand beneath my hollow bones.

Tyson West

Tyson West has published speculative fiction and poetry in free verse, form verse and haiku distilled from his mystical relationship with noxious weeds and magpies in Eastern Washington.  He has no plans to quit his day job in real estate. His rondel “Under the Bridge” placed third in the Second Annual Kalanithi Writing Contest at Stanford University.

Featured image by Rachel Kramer / CC BY