Over the Edge by David Stephenson

Over the Edge

The wind was strong and at our back all day
So we sped merrily across a sea
Awash with floating patches of debris,
Mostly planks and oars and castaway
Crates and sea chests, and sometimes a stray
Capsized lifeboat, thudding sluggishly
Against our hull with tiresome frequency
And spinning and foundering on the ricochet.

The boats they sent to stop us have turned back
And there are no birds trailing in our wake;
We sail beyond the maps and charts alone.
And now the waters swirl and skies grow black
And in the distance vast waves rise and break
And we are doomed. If only we had known.

by David Stephenson

Editor’s Note: This sonnet offers the reader a bleak situation. It isn’t until the closing lines that the metaphor becomes real.

Ex Organ Donor by David Stephenson

Ex Organ Donor

I used to check the driver’s license box
So they could use my organs for transplants,
Seeing it as a good deed without cost,
Oblivious to any consequence.

It’s grim to ponder what might have played out.
Would the person who drew my heart also get
Its foolish impulses? Talk about
A bittersweet, Faustian side effect.

But now I’ve overstepped the age limit
So my heart won’t be making any moves.
It’s stuck where I can keep an eye on it,
In my rib cage, chained with veins and nerves,

Scheming as it beats its one-note drum
And matching wits with me for years to come.

by David Stephenson

Editor’s Note: The clever volta of this sonnet raises a question most of us eventually ask—how much longer do I have?