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The John Edward Johnson Prize

Lawrence Rhu
Columbia, SC

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                   . . . and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, 

                   and all the daughters of music shall be brought low.

                                                                             Koheleth 12:4

Koheleth’s words first caught

my ear in ninth-grade English.

You pictured how dawn’s chirping

birds disturb light-sleeping

seniors and ignited

my imagination. Though now

always turns to then,

your gloss remains a present

moment, “Remember now

your Creator in the days

of your youth.” Planes roar

above my sublet quarters

near the terminal.

An old bird up early,

I con your versions

of Koheleth’s verses.

Such news, so clearly heard,

renews its claim. Despite

the noise of silver birds,

the life of words has kept

us friends since freshman year.

When clicked, a pixilated

paper clip brings you these lines

online, my breaking news.

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