Jenny Crakes wins 2014 Balocating Prize for Poetry

RCAH senior Jenny Crakes won the 2014 Balocating Prize for Poetry for her poem "Watchers: A Journey to Alberta." The prize was judged by Virginia Poet Laureate Sofia M. Starnes, who praised Jenny's rich use of metaphor. 

"Watchers: A Journey to Alberta"

I
Like elderly neighbors, they listen
as I tell them I am going east.
They send me on my way,
their icefields clinging to peaks
against fierce July heat,
cavern walls so high I can see only blue,
streams etched in chalk.
From the Rockies to the prairie, I cross a line
a sudden exit, a blink
from still granite folds
to yellow fields, the road tapering
straight and swift for miles.

II
Over my shoulder, the watchers hunch and draw together,
knuckles propping up the chin of sky.
They remain, formidable and brooding,
slowly growing pale, slippery. Ghostlike
they breathe themselves back into the horizon
and disappear.

III
Descending into boomtown,
I arrive at the
Great Canadian Dinosaur Rush.
Oil patches and fossilized bones,
help wanted in every window,
and men in steel-toed boots eating ice cream
on their way to rescue houses full of flood.

IV
On the way back, thick wind pushes hair
into my eyes.
The road curls like smoke.
The watchers fade in like a crown, an echo
on the edges an hour before I reach them.
I am drawn forward like a magnet
in the white glare of afternoon.

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