Pushcart Prize Nominees for 2014
Pushcart Prize Nominees:
for poems published in 2014
Kelly Cressio-Moeller, “First Milk”
Published November 5, 2014
Lauren Gordon, “Divorce Poem #14”
Published May 14, 2014
John Guzlowski, “Life Story”
Published June 25, 2014
Lynne Knight, “To My Rapist”
Published September 3, 2014
Nick McRae, “Fishing the Black Warrior with Adam”
Published October 1, 2014
Donna Vorreyer, “Views from This Tenement”
Published April 2, 2014
This is not your memory,
Little Boy Blue.
Swaddled tightly –
at my breast.
you had fallen asleep
until you turned
the light went out
in each room
of my heart.
Divorce Poem #14
I developed sun spots
from staring into brighter things.
Then came the rickets, the hives,
welts under my skin
crimson and malodorous
like the Japanese beetles
that infested our porch one summer.
I barely survived flu season
viscous and running,
every bone hurt.
When I was laid up
and lyme disease,
the midnight train
would chuff past my bedroom window,
the Christmas lights strung on coal cars
casting a kaleidoscopic balm
on the dark ceiling.
He was born in a refugee camp in Germany in 1945.
He was 1 pound 8 ounces. He was
a leaf of grass. He was lovely.
He was born dreaming his mother’s dream
of flying like a robin through the sky
and eating everything
that was pure and good and golden.
And then he smashed into a wall
and was dead, and the nurses
wrapped him up and put him
in the grave with all of the others.
To My Rapist
You’re old by now, moving heavily,
too weak to hold anyone by the throat
or flee. Desire still comes in a rush
yet quiets fast. You imagine
hunting the dark streets for
lone women or unlocked doors,
but you’re old. Tired. Something
like pity might arise if I saw you.
I might think, Forgive him. But then
I would remember all of it again,
your hands at my throat, the pillow
case over my head, my breath hard
to get. Then my screams, your
Shut up or I’ll kill you.
So no pity: none, at all. Nothing
but the hope that suffering
has come to you, left you shaking
with cold, comfortless.
That you remember me, so still
underneath you I might be dead
from trying to force you away.
Fishing the Black Warrior with Adam
We’re north of Tuscaloosa on the bank,
the churning river calm in our green cove
this time of day. The channel cats outflank
us, snatch our bait, predict our every move.
There’s nothing in the water here we can’t
go home without, and we’ve got Diet Coke,
two folding chairs. The water’s impeccant
in holding out on us, and so we soak
our hooks and lines and let the bullshit flow
the way all country boys are raised to do.
Mosquitos bite. The sky and water glow
the same unblinking shades of white and blue.
On the dock, our bait—a pack of chicken liver—
leaks through the slats into the blood-tinged river.
Views from This Tenement
This has been a weighty
winter, brooding on a red
sofa, half-filled suitcases
piled next to the saggy bed.
I am a saint, a disgrace
beneath the chrome
crucifix left behind by
some previous tenant.
Taunted by lies blue
as neon, I wake to oatmeal
soaked in cold milk, step
out to share a cigarette
with an eager young
missionary just back
from foreign parts,
his eyes lantern slides
of the larger world,
which I miss. I need
to tell you that I need
to leave, must map out
a new course, a better
plan. I practice crossing
that thin, shaky plank
to the other side.