The Starkey Flythe Memorial Prize

Dan Leach

Ally

once marking has ceased for bodies

to be alone with the mute sky and breathe

 

once muscles have recovered the range

to cut new paths across their memories

 

once skin has remembered its song

to lift without thought of structure

 

on that day, will you take my hand in yours

and speak to me a truer word?

 

when we no longer dream of flying

having been freed simply to sleep

 

when the names our fathers gave us

sound like notes from alien trumpets

 

when the ghosts of where we’ve been

miss the boat for our next ocean

 

on that day, let it be your voice,

composed as it is of power and light

 

that I cling to like a cross.

 

 

 

Comment by the judge: This poem creates a rhythm and form with a reliable quality that readers desire from poetry. The imagery and subtext create intensity that reveals the speaker's raw emotion, utterly felt in the last line. It is a delightfully difficult poem to come back to, but we will.

 

Honorable mention: Susan Craig