Fragile Ghazal

Bryce Morales ’19
July 25, 2019
Class Marshal Bryce Morales leads classmates to chairs at the Phillips Exeter Academy graduation.

Bryce Morales (right) at the Exeter graduation. 

We weren’t warned. We blindly stumbled upon the fight out here.
By the time we escaped everything was alight out here.

Cars in the distance. The whoosh passes. No one is singing.
Now I know how the grass feels, nibbled by frostbite out here.

Deep freeze drives fissures through the brittle ground. But even now
dense bristles of sugarcane glisten in the light out here.

Driven out of existence. The last shark died. Too stubborn.
Today the sewer rat in exile wields her might out here.

What time is it? A soft gray daylight, and growing grayer.
After two more Vs of geese pass it will be night out here.

When I stood smaller than a sapling, my hometown dissolved.
There’s safety in solitude. I’ll survive all right out here.

Editors note: Bryce Morales ’19 was awarded the 2019 Lewis Sibley Poetry Prize for the most promising collection of original poems, including this ghazal, a form of poetry whose origins trace to seventh-century Persia. Bryce will attend Yale University in the fall.