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The Jeanne Crandall Broulik Memorial Prize

Brian Slusher


Boy vs. Ocean

The odds seem long. The challenger
at 3’ 8", 49 pounds soaking wet

while the champ is a mass of relentless force
not to mention undefeated in its division

but the boy charges in with fierce ignorance,
kicking and punching the incoming waves,

unleashing his arsenal of fisticuffs:
the roundhouse, the uppercut, the karate chop.

Spray explodes. The wreckage of the surf
smokes around his slender waist as he batters

his opponent into knowing its weakness:
the sea cringes at its shores, the sky’s blue lid

screws down upon its brow, but the boy
has no limits, his taut, tanned skin a thin

membrane the fist of his heart knocks through
to break the breakers with his brawling repertoire:

the head-butt, the haymaker, the flying kick.