national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2014


Carolyn Decker  • 
Wheaton College

New love came early this year

a skunk cabbage in the snow


its rigid pink flower rupturing the icy ground


an upturned spire of a shimmering whelk

unburied by an outgoing tide.


I was still in winter when you blossomed


more coiled than the hardwood buds

bound tight in their burgundy shawls,


while you stood radiant

unassuming in our small rolling wetland


proud to usher in the warmer days

of running sap and bird songs.


Could I find a friend in you—


your mottled skin smelling of earth and flesh

flecked with damp soil and new sunlight.


Could I lie with you—


unwrap myself beside you

here at the onset of a thaw.