2020 Poetry by the Sea Sonnet Contest Winner: “Niagara Overlook” by Melissa Balmain

<span>Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@jb2018?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">James Beheshti</a> on <a href="/s/photos/niagara?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a></span>

for Davey at 16

As you gaze at the falls, unaware that I’m there,
I survey your brow’s drop-off, the bluff of your chin,
and the stone that bobs high in your neck, sharp and thin;
the bright eddies and riffles that play in the hair
that meanders from temple to earlobe to nape;
and above all, your eyes, squinting hard at the view,
eyes I’ve known since before their transparent spring blue
silted over (your grandfather’s color, dad’s shape).
What desires are cascading behind that gaze now?
What inventions are coursing right up to your brink?
How I wish I could ask and go barreling deep—
but of course that’s too much for a boy to allow.
So I’ll stay where I am, far away from the drink,
in the hope that one day you’ll invite me to leap.