Editors' Note: We're pleased to present as a special feature this week a poem by Laura McKee of Seattle, WA, winner of the Power Poems Contest, sponsored by the Virginia Arts of the Book Center, a program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. In addition to this online presentation, "Good Behavior / White Salmon" will be illuminated in a limited edition letterpress broadside. (See images of previous broadsides here.)
Contestants were asked to engage the theme of power.
Finalists for this year's prize were: Dan Albergotti (Conway, SC) for "What They're Doing," Ingrid Browning Moody (Santa Cruz, CA) for "Upon Witnessing the Creation of a New Language," and Derek Sheffield (Leavenworth, WA) for "Hydroelectric."
The Virginia Arts of the Book Center is a program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
Good Behavior / White Salmon
The transplant floats at the center of his eye
like a miniature of a city. Summer lightning
is and then deracinates. We can feel it
on our skin. All around us. Love
for the ground. Adherence to that love.
It makes me nervous. We walk out again
to the edge of the bluff. The power has been out
for hours. Townspeople call to one another
up and down the streets behind us casually enough
that this must happen often. What is electricity
exactly because there is strangely less resistance
without it; the winds page through. Quieter,
but also easier. Swifts take up the heated air
in long easy stitches. I lean over to start
a game of telephone. Some vacation, I say.
No kidding. So much for civilization.
About the Poet