The John H. Bennett, Jr. Prize
His Daughter Who Goes to College in Charleston
She adores King Street, the boutiques,
the cafes, the mingle of tourists and students,
walks there almost daily to her part time job at the art gallery.
On weekends, she is fifteen minutes from Folly.
Fifteen minutes and I'm at the beach, she exclaims.
She's comfortable moving alone down the sketchy street
where she rents her blue house with two other girls.
We're in transition, she tells her worried dad.
Just wait, in another year or so, all these old houses
will be renovated. Besides I love my neighbors.
They're so Charleston.
She talks nonstop about her classes, her French professor,
the costume shop where she spends hours volunteering.
It is impossible to choose, she frets, which restaurant
on Broad Street is her absolute favorite.
Like a sweet grass basket, she has woven her lovely self
into the charm of the city.
She's at home here with wrought iron and cobblestones,
with the sleek new bridge, with the moss and magnolias.
She knows all the one-way streets, parks in spaces
marked Residents Only,
Whenever she drives back now to the house
where she spent her childhood, it seems she is a guest.
The visits are ever shorter.
She hugs her dad, tells him, I have things to do at home.
Charleston nudges her to hurry, and he stands
in the doorway, waving.