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Selected by Yerra Sugarman,

author of The Bag of Broken Glass and Forms of Gone

1st place: Andrea L. Watson


2nd Place: Richard Palmer


3rd place Barry Denny



Andrea L. Watson

Naming Ours the Altar

a sestina



Color, meaning innocence, floats


Nothing can be left unspoken

If this is the altar of regret,

Let me fashion each layer, windblown,

Ring the past with forbidden's necklace.

How many stones in this necklace,

And what about the altar that floats?

I am lighting two votives. Windblown,

Wach burns memory-cut amethyst-

I wonder how you number your regret


sleeps in the room that knows, unspoken

purchased the crystal necklace.

Your thousand thrusts of un-regret

are a dread that floats,

like my body melting (like weight of amethyst)

you want every accusation windblown.

In the photo we are smiling, windblown;

each hour strikes unspoken

You caress my throat, flushed amethyst.

I am wearing your necklace

of fingers as darkness afloat,

my eyes are opals, starless with regret.

This jeweled mirror, witness to regret

Wind, blown

beneath a door, whispers, I want to float.

To be empty. Here is unspoken-

When you unclasped clouds as necklace,

Sky in the attic window blazed amethyst.

I do not forgive you amethyst

Without pity, there cannot be regret.

Mouth, plum, necklace:

Our shrine bleeds flame, and windblown

you wait at the top of the stairs, unspoken,

hunter's moon still floats.

Our altar of unspoken is midnight's necklace.,

Adorn me in a windblown room where memory floats.

The gem of purity is amethyst. Now, regret.



Richard Palmer




Before you can write "that poem"

You know the one,

The one that feels like powdered glass

Grinding between the bone and the blood

Before you can write "that poem"

You must first endure burning

In the ravaged emptiness

Of your grandfather's grandfather's

Unlived life

Only then,

from that unspeakable barrenness

can the man fall to the earth

and grieve

for the centuries of loss

Only then,

Can he surrender his hero's wings

For the naked grace

Of feeling his brother's hands

In his own

And the ordinary magic

Of belonging to the earth




Barry Denny

Moose Field



Near the outfield fence

separating Moose Field from the back wall of Moccia's delicatessen

a patch of poison ivy grew--

we discovered when an ugly rash erupted

on Melon Head's neck and arms

after his diving catch against the Italians.

Summer mornings, leaving my parents early-

my father

having destroyed Red Army Chorus

and Paul Robeson gospel 33 RPMs suspect



for a federal employee handling US mail

When Isarael was in Egypt's land

Let my people go

Opressed so hard

With Enos Country Slaughter outfielders mitt hooked to my belt

(A racist he turned out to be – organizing a boycott against Jackie Robinson).

I sat

On the ground

Outside Moccia's



the Daily New's sports section hanging like a salami waiting for a buyer,

waiting to fungo

fly balls

in the outfield grass

where I ingested the breeze

where meeting of ball and glove

was gospel.

When I was 5

I was nudged

By a military police car

moving backwards

while my father

operated a radio

in a tank

in the big war




from the candy store

and two MPs carried me upstairs to my hysterical grandmother

who thought I'd never walk again

Never to float

Like the breeze

In the outfield.

Inside my closet:

mountain of hiking boots

running shoes

ragged and sublime

fit to be tied

On a shelf:

The old mitt

Whispering remember the night in Moose field.

"Remember Chrissie"

Girl scout shoes too big even for her large feet,

she wasn't coming or going

only running

there to here


Treated to a roast beef hero from Moccia's.

escorted by thirteen year olds to the outfield stripped naked

"You guys are the best friends

I ever had."

As an act of defiance against a corrupt military practices, Irish immigrants pluck a nine

year old Black girl from a downtown orphanage during the New York Civil War Draft

Riots. The girl is clubbed to death. Hundreds watch.

"Jerusalem: 167 BC. The historian Josephus observes Jews on a hill being crucified for

a variety of criminal acts."

"Lookit those tittymelons."



I wouldn't touch

watching in the outfield


the underwear.