The Starkey Flythe Memorial Prize
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