The Jeanne Crandall Broulik Memorial Prize
Eye of the Skull
Gaze beyond the sailboats and fishing
trawlers at rest. In the shallows
looms the wreck, its hull a skeleton
run aground time ago in fog-white blindness.
Look how disintegration reveals
the exquisite craft: planks rot from ribs,
timbers stretch out from their curved
poses, black locust pegs loosen
like teeth grown long, joggling in the gums.
Blue, exhaled from stars,
peers through the bones.
Old tars with sagging flesh
and half-gone livers
rattle stories of their once adventures:
the storms that near drowned them,
fortnights spent becalmed (festering meat,
and flies that devoured sanity)
the year snow came in September.
Memory lodges in the salt-damp crevices,
trickles out with the ebbing tide.