The Beach at Night – Laura Sobbott Ross (Editors’ Choice)

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

You want to walk and I want to ask you
if you notice the stars, shedding their nectar.
The wind swirls a hemline of sea grasses.
Beyond tumbled dunes, the candy splurge of neon,
silhouettes of hotels, condos— a grid
of lamp lit dioramas we cannot distinguish
from this tangled edge, your voice and mine.
Before the sun smoothed this ocean to platinum,
cloudbanks were chalked in the sand mirror
of the shore, pebbles of sand fleas sinking
beneath smattered, barking light. The ocean
rising up to name itself inside a coil of shell
thin as a petal. You and I are always looking
for something unexpected— deceptively bright,
half buried in the putty colored edge. Tonight,
it is the moon. The way it glazes the thrashing sea,
reminds me how old beauty is, how eternal.

Laura Sobbott Ross teaches at Lake Technical College in central Florida and has worked as a writing coach for Lake County Schools. Her poetry appears in the Valparaiso Poetry Review, Blackbird, The Florida Review, Calyx, The Columbia Review, Natural Bridge, Tar River Poetry, Cold Mountain Review, and many others. She won The Ledge Poetry Award 2013. Her chapbook, A Tiny Hunger, was the winner of the Seventh Annual YellowJacket Press Chapbook Contest for Florida Poets. She has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize.

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