Atlantic – Poetry by J.A. Carter-Winward

Hiroshi Sugimoto – Revolution 002, N. Atlantic Ocean, Newfoundland

Dark gray sky, sea. The foam, light
gray—this is why no one yearns for

this shore. We know what came
from the gray Atlantic. We know who.

The sand, gray on the gray day, the waves
smash their oceanic cymbals again and again

heralding the emergence of one nation
under a gray sky, under gray blankets,

inside gray promises of gray-haired men
with gray eyes, a gray tint to their skin.

Within the gray sea, buried, are the many
who spent their days with frigid toes in

frigid water and sand, salt on chilled skin.
The cry of gulls singing off-tune arias as

thunderous applause sprays icy rain
into hopeful faces. How we yearn to

contain the autumnal stories of golden
maize and friendship. How we ache

for our gray heroes to be swathed in red,
white, blue. Dark gray sky, sea. The foam,

light gray. This is only partly why no one
yearns for this shore. This is only one story of

America, where even hand-over-heart
will not protect us from the coming storm.

About the Poet

J.A. Carter-Winward is an award-winning poet and literary novelist. Author of 14 books, including an upcoming chapbook and book of poems and dialogues (2021), her work appears in several online journals and print anthologies, including “We Will Be Shelter,” (Write Bloody Publishing), “HST: Poetry-2019,” (HSTQ), and “Pain & Renewal,” (Vita Brevis). J.A. also co-founded the Black Box Warning Initiative, a nonprofit dedicated to creating awareness for the dangers of prescription medication side effects through poetry, art, and film.

For the first time in nearly five years, Vita Brevis is closed for submission. Read the full story here.

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