The Constance Pultz Prize
Winter 2014
Libby Bernardin

"A Piece of Light Fabric"

As a child skipping rope, I ached to touch 
winter’s gunmetal sky, 
snow over green ground—
and I jump high enough to catch the gause-filled blue
to hold the sun, to follow the sparrow feeding
on pyracanthia berries, seed eater, yellowish bill,
reddish-grey cap, fluttering in fall flame,
how easily she wings her way—

In Autumn, darting with Gulf Fritillary
red-orange wings, white spots tremble 
with black nymph-ful cut of wing 
birthed by a green orange-striped 
caterpillar weaving a chrysalis, 
death carves its own place, child unaware—

Now my dreams skim like dragonflies over creek water, 
prowl like a cottonmouth moccasin, twist and turn 
in river’s shadow, a constant roam away from headwaters 
through a bramble’s snarl, spilling hush into an ocean 
and there—I turn a corner, 
as once in the National Gallery of Art
I came upon Dali’s The Sacrament of the Last Supper 
breath freezes—what’s the truth of it?
This slender life laid down like a piece of light fabric
embraces a last meal, right hand pointing upward
left hand at gentle rest near the throat—What trust 
in what shapes us, what surety in transcendence
how it lives with grub-shaping birth.
©2014 Libby Bernardin