McKinney 2016: Co-winner 3rd Prize Poetry

in Creative Writing/McKinney 2016 Winners/McKinney Contest/Poetry

Casey Fong

Percussive Maintenance


I like the music a collision

Makes, it reminds me of fission


And that all things break along planes that are fissile.

But what good is just one note, harmony starts as a drizzle


Then becomes some discordant chord, a downpour

Of a hail storm beating the blade of a sword


Against the floor. Listen to it.


It’s modal waves vestigial, residual,

Decay rings out to sway


Podal and dactyl. It’ll resonate through the cochlear

Drum and oscillate the ilium. It’ll drown out every jeer


And those moments of loneliness and fear. All collisions, once they’ve grown

No windchime will be hanging quiet all alone.



Analeptic autumn air.

Golden disclets plunge and twirl,

to rest weaved and tangled in your hair.

With your facade peering out through fall’s veil;

I’d follow you anywhere.

Around the crook and past the kill,

up through the trees, to the lonely ridgetop

where cumuli accumulate

to cast their thunder off.

Our digits entwine,

our anchor at the icy precipice.

“Don’t slip.”

Up here, elevated

above our concerns below

we can pour out

our hopes and pains.

“I really need this to last.”

But as each day fades

the arc of the sun wanes

summoning glaciers

up out of their summer melt.

You can hear it creaking

through the cracks of the crag,

an aubade:

The weather will wither

this clutch.


Let go.


Fall far.


To the Wills of Whales and Waves


There is a promontory of clear glass

that reaches out into the sea of drowned stars.

Washed up along its tideline

are the phosphorescent bones of the leviathans

whose blood and flesh were used

to spawn the dry world.


Some unsingable song from the deep

brought you to its edge where you found foundered

the heart of a living thing, old and forgotten.

When you took it in your hands

it beat a secret through you

and every cell in your body cried out

as they were transformed into bundles of nerves

that wove their filaments out

into the far reaches of the firmaments

and for a brief moment

you could feel everything in the universe

and its intensity set you ablaze.

The embers hung for a moment

like some alien candlelight vigil

until they were blown out by the cosmic wind

and the ashes claimed by the spiraling arms of the galaxies.


They looked everywhere for you

wading through high waters with their hounds,

clambering to the tops of the lonely peaks,

surveying the star-sprent reaches through astrolabes.

They built a lighthouse from obsidian on that promontory

and filled the Argand lamp with the powdered bones from the tideline,

hoping you would see the pylon’s forbidden glow

and return from the waves

on the back of some beast.

If one were to look out now

they would see a new star in the sea.