By FRANCISCO MÁRQUEZ
Winner of the 2020 DISQUIET Prize for Poetry
Fixed at sunset, a wooden blue shack
as if with it a million scenes of shipwrecks,
not black rock or islands of fog rising individual
in a barrenness of salt. It is not that
it was not beautiful, but that I tried to conjure
its momentous light, eternal
that is inside the ordinary, and couldn’t. If I look
backwards, the mysteries forming themselves
in darkness, I remember
the heaviness of heat.
A soporific wave lifting from concrete.
There was more a strangeness
in the dark square of water lifting
from a mallard having submerged,
like the sun into water, than there was
to that wooden place. But to think of it
in exile, in its solitude of water,
to see it turn significant
against what could destroy it,
it was then I saw myself becoming it.
Francisco Márquez is a poet from Maracaibo, Venezuela, born in Miami, Florida. He is a graduate of the MFA program at NYU, and his work appears in The Brooklyn Rail, Narrative, and Bennington Review, among other publications. He has received support from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Tin House, and The Poetry Project, as well as Letras Latinas and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He is assistant web editor at Poets & Writers and lives in Brooklyn, New York.