The Nancy Walton Pringle Memorial Prize
Worn by the Wind
What does the wind wear, anyway? On
this night: leopard skins and wolf pelts,
tornado tiara, billowing robe of blizzard,
cries of gulls draped like strands of silver,
whispered lies. Shrugs these off her shoulders
and tosses off her crown—trees like
surprised hags having the worst hair day
of their lives. Unzips her Godzilla suit,
the one she puts on when she just wants
to blow screech wild and bulldoze cities.
Kicks off her toe rings, her platforms
of dust storms, shakes away shimmering sleeves
of aspen leaves, sunset skirt, dragonfly shirt.
When cacophony settles, and the last garments
float off, wind blows naked down decades
to where an eleven-year-old wakes
in her bed at three a.m., transistor radio
beside her ear whispering alive, alive.
Listening, she is the night bird
riding soft black air murky with dream
and charged by the late night DJ’s lineup:
On Broadway, the version by The Drifters,
then another song she’s never heard before
but slides into like a pair of soft worn jeans.
Who knows the wind? Who knows my love?