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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
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
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.
BEFORE YOU CAN WRITE "THAT POEM"
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
from that unspeakable barrenness
can the man fall to the earth
for the centuries of loss
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
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-
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).
On the ground
the Daily New's sports section hanging like a salami waiting for a buyer,
waiting to fungo
in the outfield grass
where I ingested the breeze
where meeting of ball and glove
When I was 5
I was nudged
By a military police car
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
ragged and sublime
fit to be tied
On a shelf:
The old mitt
Whispering remember the night in Moose field.
Girl scout shoes too big even for her large feet,
she wasn't coming or going
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