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Jendi Reiter

First Honorable Mention : 2014 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest $100

About this Poet:
Jendi Reiter is the author of the poetry collections A Talent for Sadness (Turning Point Books, 2003), Swallow (Amsterdam Press, 2009), and Barbie at 50 (Cervena Barva Press, 2010). Awards include a 2010 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists' Grant for Poetry, the 2013 Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize, the 2012 Betsy Colquitt Award for Poetry from Descant magazine, the 2011 James Knudsen Editor's Prize in Fiction from Bayou Magazine, the 2011 OSA Enizagam Award for Fiction, the 2010 Anderbo Poetry Prize, and second prize in the 2010 Iowa Review Awards for Fiction. She is the editor of WinningWriters.com, an online resource site for creative writers.

"Lord of the Storm" is dedicated to my son, Shane, born in April 2012.

Lord of the Storm

Here is the ocean I promised you
salting your forehead with my fingertips.

Inconsolable joy.
Motherless, I mother.

Brown foam sucks the sand from under my toes,
digging a hollow shaped like my standing.

Six-weeks boy, swaddled blue as Cape waters,
your cries scouring my heart.

Down the driftwood stairs, down to the eroded coast,
carrying you, the first trust in my arms.

You came from a longer sea,
a more constant sun.

Neither of us belong to time,
un-homed from the country of sleep.

I'd thought waking for you would be no harder
than my old midnight pattern of terrors.

Three a.m. in the mildewed sunroom,
no one breathing but us and the dark waters.

All the silences wore off at once.
My ghosts became baby birds pleading not to starve.

Today's ocean has hush enough
to spread spangled to the pearly horizon.

Each glinting wavelet a day of my history,
washing my hands as I lose it.

Your shrimp-pink fingers curl at my neck.
You open stone-blue eyes to summer's glare.

You have no name for yourself or mother
or drowning or birth, so I will tell you:

That solid shape rocking on the distant current
could be a boat where a friend lies sleeping

as bravely as we will sleep tonight,
a man who knows where he comes from and where he is going.

Copyright ©2014 Jendi Reiter