The Kinloch Rivers Memorial Prize
Winter 2005
Kit Loney

Hot Night, No Screens

The evening pilgrimage to the beach finds puffs of clouds
dotting the horizon, and the beach grasses in an even line,
bowing their heads like a salaam in a procession
of Byzantine mosaic saints bearing precious gifts.
  
Don't you remember the fairy tale
where on just such an evening
the luminosity grew so profound
that the sand turned transparent,
  
And the children could see down
through past clams and crabs
past gnarled black strands of mussels
and spirals of whelk egg sacs
  
to where the miserly ogre Muscungus
had buried his treasure of gold and diamonds?
And, oh, when he discovered his riches gone
(the trick played upon him by the tide
  
turning sleight of hand) how in his fury
and uncontainable rage he exploded
into the very gnats and mosquitoes,
winged pick axes the size of millet grains,
  
who, even as I write this down,
mine rubies from the landscape of my skin,
especially the region of my wrists and ankles,
and the tender backs of my knees.
©2005 Kit Loney