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The John H. Bennett, Jr., Prize

Libby Bernardin
Georgetown, SC

 

Habitat, Home, Harbor

As in a flock of coots gliding in a path-winding slip of water

through cat tails in breeze-bending marsh;


As in a small john boat moored after men fished

for spot tail bass; as in the catch of the day enough to feed


a family of four. As in abiding by limits,

leaving behind the not-needed;


As in peaceful places, despite dangers living there.

As if left alone the alligator is at home, warming


on the pluff-mud bank in winter’s sun. As in brackish waters

where wild rice and millet flower and feed Blue-wing Teals,


Wood Ducks, and Pintails; as in bull rush enough

to weave and plait baskets to sell.


As in seven Ring-billed Gulls perched on pilings,

tails to the wind.