Pushcart Nominations in 2017



Allison Long Hardy

The Poets 

Dave Awl
“You Won’t Remember This” [February 8, 2017] 

Lana Hechtman Ayers
“The Dead Boy as Artist” [July 12, 2017]

Virginia Bell
“Picket Line Girl” [September 4, 2017] 

Richard Jones
“Gliders” [September 4, 2017] 

Michael Meyerhofer
“It Never Does” [October 25, 2017]

Karrie Waarala
“Death Spends Halloween at the Country Bar” [October 31, 2017]

The Poems 

Dave Awl  

You Won’t Remember This

You won’t remember this but I think I knew I loved you
when you stuck up for me in PE class.

You won’t remember this but I think I knew
I loved you when you borrowed my tie
so we could wear matching outfits
to a drama club party.

You won’t remember this but it was when
you said the word “wonderful.”
You won’t remember this but it was when
you said you liked Niblets corn.
You won’t remember this but it was when
you did your impression of Adam Ant
talking to Grace Jones on a TV commercial.

You won’t remember this but I think I knew I loved you
when I saw you waiting by my locker.
You won’t remember this but there was that time
we were talking in my dorm room and you said
you’d been listening to the Communards
and it made you think of me.

You won’t remember this but there was a rainy day
one spring when I looked out my window
and saw you walking across the quad
in a bright yellow raincoat. And the little matching hat.

You won’t remember this but it was

that night you bought me dinner
at a Thai place in San Francisco
and you said you’d wanted to be either
an architect or a Buddhist monk.

You won’t remember this, but once
on a brave October afternoon,
you picked up a perfect red leaf
from the ground and handed it to me.
I tucked it into one of my notebooks.
Thirty years later, you can’t know
that I still have it, but I do.
It will outlast us both.

 

Lana Hechtman Ayers

The Dead Boy As Artist

Mother needs to go to the hospital
for something called gallstones.

You no-good kids did this to me,
she says to my brother and me.

 
The dead boy runs to his room,
tears already staining his face.

I say, No, mommy,
I didn’t throw stones at you.

Get lost, Mother shouts.
I’m sick of you.

I hide in my closet.
Only five, I have perfected
crying myself to sleep
atop a pile of too-small shoes.
 
A stray dog comes to visit our house
while Mother is having an operation.
My brother names the dog Ricky,
feeds him French fries.
 
Can we keep Ricky? I say to Daddy.
Only if your mother says okay, he answers.
 
The dead boy paints a picture of Ricky
so close to real, it’s almost like a photo.

Daddy takes the painting as a present
when he visits Mother in the hospital.
I didn’t know you could draw that good,
I say to my brother.


Neither did I,
he says.

 
When mother comes home,
she finds the dog Ricky
sleeping in her bed
and doesn’t scream at us.
 
Art is power, the dead boy tells me.
All my drawings look like fried eggs.

Virginia Bell  

Picket-Line Girl

She cheered, that lady,

called my name—Cora

Marie—she handed me
peonies as I walked from

the wagon to the jail’s door,                                       
made me believe I was

a hero.  So when the warden
told me to scour my cell’s floor,

I said No!  And he walked away!
(He came back that night,

made me pay.) Next morning
I got coffee with no sugar,

knees rough as raw leather,
a sentence of sixty more days.

That lady said us
unattached girls

needn’t worry—
she’d look after our babies.

Richard Jones

Gliders
           

Between tours of duty that took my father
around the world and down into hell,
he stole three weeks R&R in Florida,
needing comfort and consolation
for all his eyes had seen.
A pilot of C-47s
flying the Hump in the Burma Theater,
he was then assigned to the Laurinburg-Maxton
Army Air Base in North Carolina,
the world’s largest glider pilot training program.
The gliders were not like the small sleek gliders
flown by amateurs today, but huge unpowered aircraft.
The gliders could hold a dozen troops,
jeeps, mortars, bazookas, machine guns, and ammunition.
My father in his C-47 towed the gliders down the runway
and into the air, where young pilots practiced tank hunting
or nighttime landings. Or more dangerously,
my father would swing down low,
like the chariot that came for Elijah,
and snatch the gliders off the ground with trick wires,
gliders that in real battle
would be loaded with wounded men
now caught up in the air to safety.
Perhaps in the great bird of his plane
my father felt like the Lord, rapturing his people.
Once, Dad spoke of a day when his practice flight
had been scrubbed. A second crew,
his buddies from the tarpaper barracks,
took his plane up instead. My father remembered
standing on the airfield, helpless
as he looked into the sky
and saw the engines smoke and fail,
the heavy plane careening down, the great explosion. 
After the war, the base shut down
and quickly became a ghost town.
But before the base closed, my father met my mother,
a secretary who typed the papers for soldiers
headed to North Africa or Normandy or Italy.
The two slow-danced together at the base club
on a Saturday night in August.

Michael Meyerhofer   

It Never Does

Priests of my childhood
spoke of paradise like a riptide,
a whitewash, trying perhaps
to slingshot out of reach
that spidery sidewalk we called
doubt. Meanwhile, cedars yawned
in snowy repose and I thought
that maybe someday, when our bones
spoon a grown man’s height
below the topsoil,
all this would make sense.

Karrie Waarala  

Death Spends Halloween at the Country Bar  

I don’t just park one stilettoed heel
on a barstool rung and order my whiskey neat
under your appraising question-marked eyes.

I’m the cold curved stare of the mounted beasts
that skulk and lurk on the walls longing
to plant hoof and fang in your supple neck.

I’m that last bourbon you slugged down
lingering in your liver and squeezing
with sluggish and watery fingers.

I’m the pack of smokes you hipchecked
out of the rusty machine in back, every coil
of cancer you suck into your lungs.

I hitched a ride here with the mandolin player,
called shotgun in a flurry of splintered glass
and bad judgment, but the kid’s got promise.

Later I will hover behind you in the 4 a.m. line
at the gas station but you won’t even notice
except for that back of the neck cold prickle.

I’m the surging anger and too-thin Plexiglas.
The grease-smeared wax paper of day-old donuts.
The sloppy wad of bills and caved hunger of addictions.

The back alley fumbling.
The stubborn refusal.
The concrete misstep.

The eyelids fluttering shut
behind wavering wheel for
one short breath too long.

Pushcart Prize Nominations in 2016

Pushcart Prize Nominations in 2015

Pushcart Prize Nominations in 2014

Pushcart Prize Nominations in 2013

Pushcart Prize Nominations in 2012

Pushcart Prize Nominations in 2011

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