Morning Composition


As though just another charcoal sketch
stretched across any pale gallery wall,

the gray downtown skyline appears
in silhouette against early-morning sun.

Today, as pairs of rowers scull past
a still-darkened boathouse, this city’s

shimmering river once again brightens,
seems to be illuminated from beneath.


Lined behind one another, they pierce
the surface—every quick spear of oar

opening into a halo, defining the center
of a circle. How easily power transforms

into beauty as each stabbing stroke
leaves in its wake an extended ellipsis

of ovals unfolding like blossoms, white
lilacs in a brightening field of sapphire.

Edward Byrne is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently Tidal Air, published by Pecan Grove Press. His work has also appeared in numerous journals, including American Literary Review, American Poetry Review, American Scholar, Missouri Review, North American Review, Quarterly West, and Southern Humanities Review. He is a professor in the English Department at Valparaiso University, where he edits Valparaiso Poetry Review.

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761