2020 Porch Prize Winner in Poetry

The late afternoon light is reflected
at oblique angles through upright stones

and leafless trees. The snow is knee-deep
beside the lane where we stand listening

to the catch and release of our breathing.
The snow blocks our way to her grave,

where we knelt as children in summer,
offering prayers we doubted even then.

Now we study the scudding clouds
and lengthening shadows. And say nothing.

We have learned that words cannot bridge
the cleft between what was and what is.

Bonded in loss, we reflect in silence.
I would reach out to you, brother, but do not.

Would pray, but cannot. The moment slips
toward ice, snow, and shadow. As we turn

to go, you walk ahead toward the car arm in arm
with your wife, leaving me behind.  I fear

we will not meet here again, where the spring
grass has always been mowed by strangers.

I bend, gather gravel from the road, and hope
you will not see me toss stones one after another,

underhanded, until one stone lands gently
and sinks into the snow that caps her gravestone.

It will be found after the thaw by the caretaker.
He will brush it away, thinking it nothing.

Kevin Norwood received BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Virginia, where he took creative writing seminars with Peter Taylor and John Casey.  He received a law degree from William & Mary, and practices corporate law. His work has been published in Litbreak, Natural Bridge, and Wild Goose Poetry Review. He lives with wife Vicki and rescue pup Lily in Brentwood, Tenn.