3rd place winner

lessons in trilobites

by Jan Wood

empty orifices solidified, blunt skulls,  finned impressions
an archeology of lives embedded in eternal geometry
there are mysteries not yet told of how these
beings turned  spirit and left their houses empty
in a  timeless ballet of white spirals
wind drift and whispers shifted everything earthward
layers of sediment turned bones to stones
and preserved the exteriors of their existence 
just as earth becomes the fabric of our stories
we bury  fossilized shells of intimacy
in crannied  spaces, our secret proof love existed
its beauty once tangible now unreachable
but still slippery with mother of pearl promise
sometimes we  are lifted into its unspeakable song
and the light fools us
into believing there might just be another route
determined by the sea, rocky and dangerous
a route where the muted ocean is not always visible
but we are lured on by the wind carrying  its scent
illusive and tantalizing, suggesting something incredible
we convince ourselves, it is madness to believe
a heart could dance in concurrent universes
that if what we love, became what we did 
and we did it as an answer to all questions asked of us
there would be no end to our unfolding
and we too would shed a hard exterior, a shard
turned talisman and leave it as a  sign in the river mud
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