2023 Barrett Winner

1st Place Sean Moylan

They paved a whole section
of road outside my apartment
in less than a day.
I am grateful,
but I am not fooled.

Another stretch was finished, and I was able to sleep.
In late autumn,
it takes only one
solid night
and day and
night of rain
to strip bare the leaves
from the red maple
trees and still,
even on the ground,
those leaves never lose
Everything else is long gone.
brown to mulchy
dust and
without much
conniving it’s

The snow is white.

When it snows
at night
it’s pink
and the snow
is bright
and the clouds
and the pink
is only
visible to
the naked eye by
garage light.

It's white
and gray
and the lane
closest to
the river is
finally paved,
but there’s no bridge
or berg,
no ferry,
to shuttle my soul
from here to there.

No horse to ride
to transport my body
back to Tír na nÓg
from February
on the Detroit River.
Does Macdara die on Fighting Island?
Does Jesus scuffle down the pavement?

Is pink snow falling in the garage light
too nostalgic or too specific?

Can pink not exist without it?

Accessible by underpass
on the banks
of the Rouge River,
without the hassle
of the chain-link fence
at the sandpath
under Military Avenue,
between Henry Ford’s estate
and Dearborn High School,
I saw a couple
deer once -
spotted brown,
or speckled
and timid,
then startled
and running, then
bounding and
round the mound
of carts abandoned
cast off back
of Kroger’s lot.
I’d like to have pet them before they made off.