Walking Home from City Dock
Sometimes temptation falls from the sky,
lands on my forehead. It pays
to glance up and track the progress
of waterless planets. Their orbits
are so large each year may last a dozen.
Or else to look where that kestrel
has gone to this time, flying
a mile for its ratty supper.
If I see temptation coming
I’m quick to step left or right,
just dodging the crash of it
where a small crater thus forms
in the shape of someone lovely
and hungry and overwhelmed and alone.
I don't stop, not even to throw
coins into the gaping shadow
to wish for something different. No,
I keep moving and maybe
I’ll buy gladiolas and wine
to go with a half-shelled night of oysters.
Here I am, leaning over the faucet
cutting stems on the bias.
Here is my wife, popping
and pouring the grape shots. Here we are,
sailcloth mitt and shucker, saying nothing
when she sees once again I’ve bashed
my head on something, leaving a lump.
Barrett Warner of Upperco, Maryland, won the 2011 Princemere Poetry Prize for his poem "Walking Home from City Dock." He has been awarded $300.
Runner-up is Gayle Ellen Harvey of Utica, New York, for her poem "Communion."