Creative Writing Ink March 2019 Winner


Charles Leggett


The water tumbles down the conical

Coal-dust-coloured fountain; after trickling

Between up-jutting stones it stands, a pale


Penumbra, rendering a flickering

Of streams of light from the nearest of the lamps.

This park’s guitarists, lovers, frolicking


Dogs. Its shirtless would-be Frisbee champs.

Its joggers, strollers, chess combatants, moss-

stubbled boulders, and its child who stamps


His feet and wails. The mixture, there across

Eleventh, of façades both new and old—

The nineteen-twenties brick alongside dross


Heaved up five minutes ago as condos, sold.

These lines, of trees and benches, lamps and pathways.

Illiberal zoning lingers to withhold


Construction of much anything that strays

Above the generous canopy of trees

Lining Eleventh. This, in effect, arrays—


Excepting for the mild trajectories

Of spires, antenna towers—a subsigned,

Whole other line. Or else it’s that one sees


The whole park mounted, framed; or feels confined

In someone’s morbid science fiction zoo

(Both Vonnegut and “Star Trek” come to mind).


The fountain, as it gathers darkness to

Itself, transmutes, and now a whitebeard drools

In wind. The water only stays in view


When moving through the lamplight, which now pools

Upon its surface: one discerns a swell

Of soldiers, as in old fast-motion spools


Of wartime battle footage, as they pummel

Forward, are cut down by the pursuant

Gloaming. Then the stillness: aquarelle


Of silence as a skin of depth and scale,

Impervious, a living death in oil.