Index by Author

The Dr. Linda Veldheer Memorial Prize, Spring 2019
Thomas Johnson
While She Slept
She’s asleep, softly settled in slumber’s caress. It’s time for disclosure, time to confess
My doubt and delight as I lie at her side, attempting to give her what has been denied

I whisper her name; she doesn’t reply. I speak to her softly, explaining why
This voyage we’ve started has been a rebirth. My words flow freely, as if rehearsed

We’re a hesitant pair as we try to rebound from ships named Forever, both run aground
We reach for each other surprised we survived; reclaimed, recovered, weakened but wise

Notes of the chantey we sing now are joyous, free from discords that would only decoy us
Crafting the tune is the task that’s before us. Verses come later, let’s start with the chorus

Score it symphonic. Take it up-tempo—melodious mirth, merry mementoes
Of cadence composed completely by chance—destiny’s dictum, recaptured romance

If this is a ballad, skip the cliché, undying, eternal, words that convey
Bond and duration we can’t guarantee, there is only now and there’s you and there’s me

And this powerful pull that happens between us, cosmic convergence of Mars into Venus
But I can assure you no doubts ensue, I am overflowing with love for you

Morning’s first ray of the coming sunrise parts delicate hair that covers her eyes
I offer a silent prayer for the grace to say what I said while she slept when she wakes

©2019 Nick Sweet