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The Jeanne Crandall Broulik Memorial Prize

Ann Herlong-Bodman

 

At Midnight

Trouble is you have to stay awake
when you sail offshore, the captain
says. Watch for sheared-off girders,

flotsam, stranded hulls that float
on crests or plunge before your eyes
in deep and dangerous corridors.

You have to watch the passing
clouds, feel the slightest gust.
Things that change us only change

a fraction, the poet says. I take
the wheel, squint, see nothing.
Only phosphorescence, something

starry white dancing on a dark
and rolling sea, luminescence,
a sudden light and I see clearly

now: you don’t need to check
your compass to know you’re shifting
one degree, giving in without a blink

to places once denied. Makes you smile
when you decide to take a leap,
pay attention, look deep inside.