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2nd Place Summer Poetry Winner: In the Sway of Tides - Sandra Fox Murphy

Songs of the conch coax me to the sea— 

the dogged roll of waves turquoise 

and burnish beneath the indigo of night 

awaiting to shine bright in morning sun. 

The sea woos me with its low moans 

like a bassoon in the kiss of a reed. 

A neglected lover at times disappoints 

but keeps returning, lapping 

at my ankles and pulling me deeper. 

The sea caresses my arms, entangles me 

in seaweed as I struggle free to fresh air. 

I give it all up to the sea, unbound 

and bathed in seawater seeking the curve 

of life brined and eddied where it finds 

me weightless and willing, no different 

than the sunfish and eels and kingfish. 

But it is I, quickened in a gasp of air, kelp 

twined in my hair, a wisp in the current 

that loves the sway of tides where the sea 

reels me ethereal, buoyed in deliverance. 


Sandra Fox Murphy lives in central Texas, grew up on USAF bases across the globe, and is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. In her early years, she was inspired by the Beatnik poets and now writes historical fiction and poetry. She reads at local open mics and has been published in the Ocotillo Review, The Write Launch, Earth Song: A Nature Poems Experience, and Poetry in the Time of Coronavirus.

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