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White Sands

Christopher Dewdney
From:   Demon Pond. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1994.

This evening the desert wind
blows down the highway, stretches
fingers of sand across the asphalt.
We drive beneath a
night sky into the blank,
artificial darkness.
Our car is a chariot, is a blown
four-forty, a leaf, driven
by swamp gas
three-hundred million years old.
At the edge of the flats
there are mountains,
there are abandoned mines where
children toil.
Their lives are inconceivable
to themselves, as their suffering
is inconceivable to us.
And in the darkness
that illuminates this night
from the inside
the mountains are invisible,
locked out of the cones
our headlights make.

On the evening of
the last night you will ever
know, when the heavens
fall away and the planets
become magnified pictures of themselves,
like illustrations in a children's book,
there is a sky so blue it is inconceivable.
It is the darkness uncovered,
when night caves up
into a deeper midnight, a cobalt
so lost and intimate
that your heart fills
with dread and love.

And on this last night
your heart will form the shape
of a constellation and the sky
will ring with your music. The desert wind
will blow clear through you
and the mystery
of everything will be
absolutely still, transparent
at the centre
of a storm of glass.

But tonight we are merely adorned
with the instruments of our deaths.
Down the highway and through the night
we carry golden monkeys on our backs.
We drive
into the blank insulation
of all the sadness, all
the joys of life,
becoming a double crystal,
fire and ice.


It is our turn to know
the absolute, the pure

From Demon Pond by Christopher Dewdney, published by McClelland & Stewart, The Canadian Publishers. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Christopher Dewdney's works copyright © to the author.

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