Poetry Contest Runner-Up

Tobias Wray

Sci-fi Aubade


Say God breaks his covenant

and floods return Manhattan to the deep

where future fisherman dive for pearls.

Say a diver blacks out from the pressure,

rises like a dark flare sent against the storm,

and surfaces, blooming on the heavy waves.

To the creatures below, he’ll sleepily wave

his arms like tendrils, like a hungry, beckoning thing

that survived the flood to become predator

of the silky blue, a latter-day monster

singing down nightly from this balcony in the sky,

begging, Please, wend this way


and sway to silent songs that promise feasts

to come. But the diver, not knowing

this is what he is saying, is still and dreaming:

A woman opens beside him like a new testament

and rests her head against his and whispers

what he’ll spend so many mornings trying to remember.

Tobias Wray is a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he is a reader for the Cream City Review. His work has appeared in Phoebe, Wayfarer, and elsewhere. He was a finalist for the 2010 Black Warrior Review Poetry Contest. He holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas in poetry and translation.