No Better Way / nancy anne miller

There was no better way to come
to America, than in a ship rolling
around in water, turning
my stomach inside out

like a wobbly pregnant girl.
No better way to move
towards the new country
than looking through the porthole’s

crystal ball, where the ocean’s
churned oblivion tried to form
my future. Nothing better than
the liner’s stacks releasing

smoke, three staunch women
incapable of holding
their laundry in the wind’s
powerful howl. The rail

on the side of the ship, a fork
trying to mark the high sea’s
irregular crust. So, when
I arrived in New York harbour,

flat as a well-made bed,
The Statue of Liberty’s flame
was a ticket, a reservation ,
for a room she still held for me.


Nancy Anne Miller was born in Bermuda and has a MLitt in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow. Her poems have appeared in Edinburgh Review, Stand, The Caribbean Writer, Journal of Caribbean Literatures, The Dalhousie Review, The Fiddlehead, Via, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review and The Cordite Poetry Review, among others.


  1. True story? I love the image of the “porthole’s crystal ball”…excellent! Something about this reminds me of the last scene in Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Annie John’ where Annie is leaving on the boat to study nursing in England. I am intrigued by immigrant poetry and can definitely see this in an anthology of such. Really enjoyed it!

  2. Nancy,
    Like so many of your poems, this one took my breath away.
    Ironic that with so deft an arrangement of mere words, one can go beyond even language itself.
    The imagery is just remarkable!

  3. Summer,
    I am always grateful that I actually did come to America on a ship.Firstly,this links me to the seafaring history of other islanders, as well as giving me a three day physical memory of that important passage in my life. Hence, it is a profoundly marked time as it should be.
    Jamaica Kincaid continues to nourish and inform any of my writing endeavours. What a talent!
    Nancy Anne

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