Murder in the Dunes

by Bruce Lader

Murder in the Dunes

They didn’t dream the dead horse
omened dissolution of their marriage.
They looked for footprints
of coyotes who had hounded
the marrow out of those rifted remains
unfaithful as dunes of strewn
emotions that shift with weather
and tides, but rippling sand
concealed evidence of attackers
like burrowed voles, hares
hiding in brambles, wind over
lake surfaces where tern, loon
and kingfisher dive.

A handful of minutes
would have buried the splotches
of blood in Oceano sand,
finished submerging the unbridled
carcass gnarled as driftwood
sifted down windblown furrows,
but they, infatuated with dunes
higher than tsunamis under spindrift
wings of cirrus were drawn to the hawk
revolving maelstrom sky.
He pointed to the killer whale,
she, a woman dressed in shadows;
neither wanted to think of their
love in ruins, the war that lurked
like an owl keen to swoop
their dens of separate silence,
leave them stranded in estranged night.

Discovering Mortality (March Street Press, 2005)

brucelader's picture

Bruce Lader is the former director of Bridges Tutoring, an organization educating multicultural students. Currently he brings writers' groups together in the Raleigh area, gives readings in the NC Triad and appears widely on YouTube, local TV, radio, podcasts and international magazine sites. Poetry Foundation, Poets & Writers, New York Quarterly, and many other literary resources archive his work. Lader’s poetry is characterized by a humanistic world vision, psychological insight, ironic humor, and speculative imagination. His themes are the need for freedom, love, and social justice. Describing Landscapes of Longing, Kathryn Stripling Byer commented: “…a powerful, unsparing, and yet tender book about the realities of self and culture that have assailed us since the beginning of human time.” Kelly Cherry wrote of Fugitive Hope: ... " [the book] deepens, broadens, and sweetens, as a pastoral symphony might…. an astonishing journey, beautiful and hopeful.” Discovering Mortality was a finalist for the 2006 Brockman-Campbell Book Award. In addition to winning the 2010 Left Coast Eisteddfod Poetry Competition, he has received a writer’s residency from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation and numerous honoraria.

Last updated September 16, 2011