Terrain.org 11th Annual Contest in Poetry Semifinalist
Evening Colors in Jacksonville
Jacksonville’s dark water at sunset turns
a translucent blue. Like semi-precious gems
cut to multi-faceted perfection, each wavelet’s
a ripple of that overall condition. Each wavelet,
like a blue jay, refracting that one true shade
of blue. Gone is the gray day. Gone is the hum
drum of rush hour traffic. All that blue water
infiltrating the neighborhoods in a blue ops
configuration: New River, Wallace Creek,
Northeast Creek, Hunter’s Creek, Blue Creek,
and all the creeks that have no names
robbing the atmosphere of its universal color.
See how the sun bleeds on the horizon,
turning the air to apricot and mauve.
See how the trees in the distance hunch
together in black bands. See beyond how
the ocean keeps receding from the land.
Some Mornings in Jacksonville Start This Way
The end of the world is at hand.
Clouds have hunkered down in the dips
and crevices of the softened
landscape, obscured the view from one
tree to the next. Obfuscated
that blue horizon, where the New
River ends and the sky begins.
Clamped down on the surrounding sounds
with its woolen disposition,
like the winter scarf wound too tight
around your neck or the bridal
veil you packed full of tissue and lace.
Sunset at Wilson Bay
All day the wind roughs up
the water and chops it
into little bits of
flinty waves that glint with
sparks of sunlight. The sky
steals what blue remains true
to that hue I’m looking
for. Dawn to dusk, the bay
shucks one lusty husk for
another. Twilight brings
a deepening, a pause
that causes the gauze of
blue to deepen, too. We
stopped to enjoy the view
linger in the depths of your eyes.
Deborah H. Doolittle has lived in lots of different places but now calls North Carolina home. A Pushcart nominee, she is the author of No Crazy Notions, That Echo, Floribunda, and Bogbound (forthcoming in 2021). She shares a home with her husband, four housecats, and a backyard full of birds.