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Poetry Second Place

“The January Beach,”

by Tina Raye Dayton

Hushed crashes wash the shore,
and traces of life in thick sweaters
window shop the boardwalk.
In a warm arcade, we toss skee-balls
into the numbered rings and pink tickets
flick out like a delicate curling tongue,
heaters humming overhead.
Behind the scuffed glass case,
the counter boy's long hair sweeps
across his bony shoulders. He grins
willing to give me whatever I want
because this is not a job that matters. 
The dragonfly’s violet wings
feel like sugared candy
in the skin of my folded hand.
I know exactly what it means
to clasp a question rough with texture
and hold it, always coming back
to the same moment and the soothing waves
frothing on the silver winter sand.

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