Poetry- Honorable Mention

The saltwater, the sky, the same thick dark.
The rushing sound of the ferry,
as if the world’s doorway is just
opening, a suction of life slapping
in and out, an indecision.

Somewhere ahead is a lunar landscape
a glimmering white island. For now,
only dark on all sides, the ferry a lonely
slip of candlelight bobbing. Too many people,
too few seats—a man sleeps
shirtless in the hallway. Children
lay on coats spread on the dirty floor.

The lovers wait, hold their heads
in tired hands as the ferry lilts
side to side, time’s metronome.
What lurks behind? What if
there is no destination and only dark?

The ferry tires of talk and smoking.
Black ash falls like burned-out snowflakes.
A woman hears a starboard splash.
A man holds his chilled foot between
his palms. Hours pass. Everything is true
and not true at once. A boy points, says,
I see it. The island lights are blinking.

The quiet gathering of things,
the unspoken collective mutiny
is left behind like a forgotten book.
At the dock, the bones stand up
and walk away without feeling dizzy.
They carry no fire or maps,
no awakening.

Paige Riehl’s poetry chapbook, Blood Ties, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in summer 2014. Her poetry has been published in Meridian, Potomac Review, South Dakota Review, and more. She won the 2012-2013 Loft Mentor Series in Poetry and the 2011 Literal Latte Prize for Poetry.