Poetry Contest Winner, First Prize, Fall Winter 2021

Connor Drexler

Alone Another Vacation

I’ve sat many moonlit nights without a single insight arriving.
Eight hours up and around Lake Michigan, all the houses swallowed

inward. Stars rotting in the corners of the sky we don’t care to stare towards.
This charade of stargazing worth only the galaxy’s reflection. Better shimmer

in lakewater than your face already riddled with too many boring stories.
Too many miles bushwhacked covered in pointed burrs,

all the pretty stones upturned, all the water
and brightness drained out of both me and the forest.

The story I long to tell never speaks up during the pauses
hammered to the wind this way, each precious chunk of pale quartzite

smashed to dust, each journey ending with a grove of tempestuous thorns
guarding an oval nest of silvery paper, writhing in obsidian wasps.

The place all answers flow from, it's a squalor too. What good comes
of plunging hands through it, blood crammed with venom

right there in the real wild of things? We’d be damn lucky to find the trail back.
A body is a dead man’s tent, eventually packed back into earth, all used up.