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2018 Susan Laughter Meyers Summer Scholarship Winner

McKayla Conahan
Charleston, SC

 

Floating World

At first glissading over the surface, our train

sheared into the ocean last night,


and I woke to my ears popping--you

still asleep across from me, and the Adriatic,


still below. In a poem I mistook

the long, drowning hours powering a car


while friends sleep in back

for a tragic crash into the lake. I could not


look Ellen in the eye after that workshop.

In a dream, under my imagined waves, 


her gaze locks on mine. In a dream, 

something wraps around her neck


as it did in a collage, and never under sleep

do I experience fear or empathy,


but here. I buoy out, floating past 

the glowing eye of the giant squid cradling 


our vessel, each sticky pink arm cherishing 

our ukiyo-e, our upended lives. All soft 


watercolor landscape, and me escaping, unscathed.