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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.