Friday, September 17, 2010


The Charles Prize for Poetry, 2010


~a medical resident
Hand clasps hand
on the window sill,
he in a paper-thin gown,
she in her Sunday dress.
Snow falls.
He craves the sting of crystals
on his tongue,
a shovel to carve a meandering path
to the front door.
And she –
a spark from dying embers
that once flushed his cheeks,
now sunken and pale.
Lilacs blossom.
He dug the earth for their resting place,
pruned them religiously,
watered their roots.
She filled glasses with branches
pouring over the rim –
a breath of lavender anticipation.
Heat rises.
He remembers capturing fireflies in jars
with punctured holes to breathe
and watching them through the night
as their lights flickered
then faded away.
She remembers
laughing at the red juice stains
from freshly picked raspberries
on their chins.
Leaves fall.
The crisp sun is distant
from the blurred shadows of the hospital bed.
The hurried migration of the birds
is silenced by the glass.
From the window,
they imagine the rush of delicate wings
headed south
and the imminent scent of autumn –
Burnt orange peels, smoky maple,
roasting pumpkin seeds.
Their lights flicker,
then fade away.

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