It’s a daily ritual now,
waiting for her approach.
He anticipates her arrival,
it having become part of each day.
She arrives an hour or so before sunset
her hair windblown by the offshore breeze,
her feet bare as they walk her dedicated path,
then, as always, she stands and stares,
her gaze intent on the horizon,
and she doesn’t move.
The gulls circle overhead
as if in protection of her.
He feels protective also.
She seems so sad, so vulnerable, so intense.
The sandpipers gather near,
the dolphins cavort offshore
they too hoping to gain her attention.
She’s intent in her gaze
and seldom can be lured from her thoughts.
He wonders about her story,
what tale she has to tell.
Each day she waits for the sun to set
until the twilight covers the land she doesn’t move,
staring at the spot where the sky meets the water.
A statue of vigilance is the lady of the sea.
As darkness begins to overtake the day,
she looks into the twilight shadows behind her
finding nothing, and still she waits
until she can no longer see her own shadow.
Then, with her head lowered
she retreats back the way she came.
But today she’s not alone,
and she walks slowly but straight and tall.
She doesn’t stop, but looks over her shoulder
at the setting sun and then laughs
along with the one who accompanies her,
a man he’s never seen.
And he knows...
he waited too long.
The one she waited for has claimed her,
softly he whispers good-bye . . .
to his lady of the sea.
© Marcia Miller-Twiford