2015
POETRY OPEN
First Prize
$1,000 Award

WATER

by Gene Fendt

I want to be the shower
under which you, naked,
wash the world away,
draining it back to its earth,
while you, naked, step forth,
as once, Venus, born of the sea.

I envy the bath which accepts
your whole body, sliding
along every limb, sheathing,
entering you everywhere,
staying as long as you let it.

I would be the glass by your bed,
waiting, when you want me at midnight,
to pour down inside you,
entering each cell, slaking,
until, at four, you want me again.

I will come to you,
a white crown in winter;
wearing me without knowing,
you turn me back to myself:
I drop upon your cheek.

Gene Fendt has been teaching philosophy in the small department at the University of Nebraska, Kearney, for almost 30 years, and has published work on most of the “greats,” whom he teaches regularly: Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Shakespeare, Hume, Kant and Kierkegaard. His poetic work is less regular, but he previously won awards from the Nebraska Arts Council for poetry (2006, 2009), for playwriting (1999) and in the Chester H. Jones National poetry competition (1997).