McKinney 2016: Co-winner 3rd Prize, Poetry

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

Nicholas Boni

Poetry—“Fixing a Hole”

“The Weather in Portland”

It’s nighttime now, and after looking

at the stars I’m wondering

what the sky looks like in Portland

where my dad is now. He’s

not a stern man,

but he doesn’t joke either,

he’s always looking for

a laugh, telling a story.

I wonder what he’s telling

her right now, as they look

out on the gray, drizzling

sky through deep panes

of glass. I wonder how

the streetlight’s reflecting off

his glasses and into the room,

in a few different directions,

glinting and exciting the cat whenever

a wrinkle of the nose pushes

at the frames. And

when he gets back sometime

in the coming weeks, I’ll ask him

about the weather in Portland,

how long was the flight,

and I’ll let him tell the rest,

his successes in words,

failures in the pauses between them.


The cup’s sitting on the windowsill to dry,

all covered in droplets in the sun,

squeaky clean,

and while that’s true, it’s disingenuous,

there’s so much more going on that it’s

almost unfair to narrow in like that

because I know somewhere out there you may be

thinking as I am, looking at the trees

that won’t be barren for much longer,

seeing their stark branches like bones,

thousands of skeleton arms reaching wildly to the sky,

gesticulating, demanding the warmth of the sun

that will bring you and I back together.

Until then, I sit as you do,

peering through the leafless world, trying to find you looking back.

“I Wish I Was an Engineer”

I wish I was an engineer

so I could build a bridge

to a place where

bridges don’t cross the landscape,

where the shores are forested with

shade & coolness that only we’ve found,

that we & only we can share,

like we felt in the breeze

we tasted as we carved our names in the tree,

or on so many of those warm

summer nights on the grassy hill,

watching the waxing moon melt away

into the tiny twinkling lights on the horizon,

the king & queen of it all.

But now that air is sticky & hot

& doesn’t blow like it used to,

so I’m building a bridge in my mind

to that cool, shady place where

the rain’s already fallen &

you’ll always be in my dreams.

“The Sky”

The sky is

an endless moving


& everything that is

holy & sacred lives

in it, on it, above it,

beneath it, nothing that is

is not holy, is

not made of

everything, same as we are,

living in the sky on


yearning to be, to be, to be

“Fixing a Hole”

It looks like rain today,

tomorrow & forever those brooding

clouds press down like endless

indecisions, haunting & spewing

what they hold dear, arresting us

in their vagrant uniformity;

each drop no better or worse than the last,

just an endless synchronization, a choreographed

dance of leaves paddled gently by

the falling rain & blowing

wind coming through my open window

to remind me of something I forgot

long ago, something I maybe didn’t

want to remember but couldn’t

afford to forget, for my own sake, &

maybe someday I’ll thank that heavy,

turgid breeze for reminding me, for keeping

me who I am, as I am now, forever—-