2012 Poetry Contest Winner, judged by G.C. Waldrep
We begin in line. We end there.
In the gentle shuffle forward
of our incumbent spell.
We find the school of attention
in the school of boredom,
the danse ennui in the study
of shoes. In the queue,
time moves through a half-solid.
Air is just a fraction
away from liquid. We’re all drowning,
in Florida. In my father’s temple,
in the heat, a vein is swollen—
Lethe in my flower… In the fadeless garden…
If we could look inside the living
mind, I imagine versions
of ourselves, minuscule and impure,
in a gridlock on the interstate.
This we call memory—
and then forget.
Each time we open the mind,
it dies like a movie
astronaut in a holey spacesuit.
Here, we measure time
in bodies. (My father sweats
through his clothes.)
I lean into the metal
railing, and the heat it holds
enters into me
burning. Body after body,
we could keep on going—
beyond this moment we’ve existed in
here, past the line
and my father’s old silence,
arriving at his new:
of personless photos, mountains
in a war-country he sends
without caption. From these, I get:
“Love exists at terminus;
meaning, in vacuo.”