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The Kinloch Rivers Memorial Prize

Kit Loney

 

Hot Night, No Screens

The evening pilgrimage to the beach finds puffs of clouds

dotting the horizon, and the beach grasses in an even line,

bowing their heads like a salaam in a procession

of Byzantine mosaic saints bearing precious gifts.


Don't you remember the fairy tale

where on just such an evening

the luminosity grew so profound

that the sand turned transparent,


And the children could see down

through past clams and crabs

past gnarled black strands of mussels

and spirals of whelk egg sacs


to where the miserly ogre Muscungus

had buried his treasure of gold and diamonds?

And, oh, when he discovered his riches gone

(the trick played upon him by the tide


turning sleight of hand) how in his fury

and uncontainable rage he exploded

into the very gnats and mosquitoes,

winged pick axes the size of millet grains,


who, even as I write this down,

mine rubies from the landscape of my skin,

especially the region of my wrists and ankles,

and the tender backs of my knees.