The Best Poem

Billy Weber, “Psalm 40”

I waited patiently for the Lord

He heard my cry.
I waited on the porch swing all afternoon.
I crossed my legs under my summer dress.
It was May, the sky was thin blue
to the east, and white where the sun leaned
back against the western cypresses.
When the fireflies flicked on
beneath the live oak, when
the nightjar began to mutter,
when shadows draped the house like spanish moss
He heard my cry.
He heard me. I
slept, tried not to dream
of the ocean.

An horrible pit

The ocean
is deep, very dark, its water
glutted with salt. Dive:
you will never touch
its floor. Drink:
you will thirst.

The sea wind calls, “Drown.”
The sea wind corrodes the skin
in all the right places. The sea wind
sweeps the beach; so I stood
on the beach, not drowning,
feet in the claylike sand.
I lay on the beach.
The sea wind said wade.

A rock

He heard my cry.
I heard
the creaking swing call
Rest. After
you’ve sliced the damp peach into
your tea, you’ve
let down your hair,
you’ve pressed a blossom
there,
come rest. Sleep
to the clink of ice on glass,
to the trill of the
Georgia dusk.

My goings

I slept.
I dreamt of
magnolias,
went nowhere.

A new song

Sunday
He left me
to my guitar. I
went nowhere, found
the major sevenths.

 

Prizes:

George S. Diamond Prizes
Beck Shakespeare Prize

English Prize
The Erskine Prize
Zinzendorf Prize
Beck Oratorial Prizes