The latest issue of The Lyric is out – although I won’t get my copy for weeks or months yet, depending on the Bahamas Post Office’s mood and inclination – and apparently “My Eliza” has been awarded the Leslie Mellichamp Prize (with $100, no less!). Judge Michael Ferris wrote: “A smart and charming love poem with island images (I learned some new words) that finishes on the striking picture of two sea otters drifting hand in hand.” Of course I’m delighted! So here it is:
As through Canada I wandered,
Winters cold and summers cool,
Out a girl wild, beautiful.
Come, she said, share games and reading,
Come and play and let’s share beds;
Let’s move south for warmth and business,
Raise our children, use our heads.
Eliza with the hair like lightning,
Hair like ragged moonlit clouds,
Like a cloud of wild mosquitoes,
Junkanoo’s drunk noisy crowds.
Sexy, vital, dogged, honest,
Game designer, engineer,
Eliza: genius aphantasic,
A no-see-um who sees clear.
Now like two strays by the roadside,
Like two potcakes on the beach,
She and I will scrap and forage,
Take the treasures in our reach,
Clean up beaches, plant some flowers,
Read all books and plan things grand,
Roam through cities and through seascapes,
Drift like otters hand in hand.