by Christopher Locke

–with the italicized lines by Isabel Allende

It begins like this: Barrabas came
to us by sea,
with its curse of salt

lashed horizons, the endless
fabric of repetition crumpling

against the shore, the pitiless
rocks dull and shining in their

wigs of seaweed, the hem of
your dress darkened by white

foam as he steps off the wooden
planking and onto the sand, jacket

ruffled in the bone-wind of air, your note
damp in his hand, the water a tourniquet

around your ankles as you raise your arms
in pleading, the wreckage of a setting sun.

Christopher Locke was recently awarded the 2007-2008 Individual Artist Grant in Literature from the New Hampshire Council on the Arts. Born in Laconia, NH in 1968, he has received an MFA from Goddard College. His poems and prose have appeared in such magazines as The Literary Review, The Southeast Review, Connecticut Review, XConnect, Alimentum, West Branch, Exquisite Corpse, Atlanta Review, The Chattahoochee Review, The Sun, Agenda (U.K.), Descant (Canada), The Stinging Fly (Ireland), and twice on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. Chris has received several awards for his poetry, including a 2006 and 2007 Dorothy Sargent Memorial Poetry Prize, and grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Fundacion Valparaiso (Spain). He was a Finalist for the Salmon Run Press National Poetry Book Award (co-sponsored by the Academy of American Poets), Pavement Saw Press’ Transcontinental Poetry Award, the New Issues Poetry Prize, The Writers@Work Nonfiction Fellowship (co-sponsored by Quarterly West magazine), the Georgetown Review Annual Literary Contest, the Robert Penn Warren Award, and Atlanta Review’s International Poetry Competition. His three chapbooks of poetry are Possessed (Main Street Rag, Editor’s Choice Award–2005), Slipping Under Diamond Light (Clamp Down Press–2002), and How To Burn (Adastra Press–1995). His first full-length collection of poems, End of American Magic, is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry (Ireland). Chris lives in New Lebanon, NY with his wife and two daughters, and teaches literature and writing at The Darrow School.

Back to Issue One: Fall 2008