The Klyde Robinson Poetry Prize
Lunching with Cavafy
The girls have all gone south
to Charleston for the day, beneath
their ears a dab of scent like honeysuckle
from the fence. Around their necks
they wear those metal tabs with who
they are, including blood type, all
spelled out in case of accident.
In case the final question for their
freedom is, Who must be notified?
Leaving it for Rainbow Row,
the Dock Street play, a walk along
the Battery, then shrimp and grits,
why would they ever think of home,
and getting back or not? They know,
and I, exactly in whose time
and place they live—which city, state,
and country: mirth, forgetfulness, rebirth.
Alone at lunch I find Cavafy’s
poem “Harbor” and meet Emes,
that young sailor lost forever,
always living in the hearts
of parents left behind. To be
remembered also in the souls
of those whose children somehow manage
to get back home alive.