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The Constance E. Pultz Prize

Kit Loney

 

The Wind of Your Name, Sophia

Two scraps of black construction paper
on the floor after the class has filed out,
and when I pick them up they look like

galleons, caravels. Then I find your collage
on the drying rack with your name,

bubble-writ black letters cut out as one piece

and stuck onto a surface layered pink and yellow.
So, here are two vessels, one scissored

from the lower edge of your characters, the other

from the top, the dot of the i like a porthole.
What they carry, then, these ships, is your name.
Not the solid mass of it which you glued

to your picture, but its air, its breath.

It is how our bodies carry our being——
we are, and we are not, these bones, timbers,

knitted capillaries, plied halyards,

red blood, iron rigging. It is how a poem
wants to be the negative shape of itself,

not the print, not the inked lines,

but the breath around them, wind
navigating crevasses and curls of letters

the way a sailor explores coves, inlets, harbors.
The way air flows into the hull of our lungs,
echoes with our stories as it leaves.