2022 Jeff Marks Memorial Poetry Prize Winners
december is honored to present audio recordings from our winner and honorable mention for this year’s poetry contest. These poems are featured in Vol. 33.1; to purchase or subscribe click here.
lately everything seems glazed i’ve taken
to cataloguing the days by how many
words i say out loud to someone other
than myself i need a recipe for sugarcoated
stuck in a rut should i search for answers
in today’s horoscopes collage all juicy bits
call it age of aquarius looking at the ocean
through a chain link fence i can almost
remember yesterday but what about
two days ago driving south along
the coast the pink pacific kicking breezes
supermoon rising in an ombré sky
i forgot about the moon for weeks
maybe that is a good thing last night
i cheated on ramen with mail order deep
dish pizza worth it this labyrinthine
ravel of hours are we at the eleventh
or the twenty fifth what if this is all there is
virtual survival rise zoom in out again
and again and tomorrow again
i am losing words before they reach the pen
Pantoum for What Remains from Minidoka
A hand-woven doll palmed tightly so the soldiers wouldn’t notice.
That delicate black tea set you buried under loose floorboards,
still unbroken. The nearness of stars caressed through a rough
aperture in the barracks roof. & all that rain seeping in to wet your dreams.
That delicate black tea set you buried under loose floorboards
like a body. & the body of your uncle, forever bent beneath plow & push.
The aperture in the barracks roof, where all that rain seeped in to wet your dreams,
opened the sky, some nights, to that old white farmhouse you’d never see again.
Like a body bent beneath plow & push, your future husband out there
emptying the belly of a bomber on his own country for love of this one.
How he opened the sky, some nights, to fire. How they burnt down the old farmhouse
in your absence. How you cannot stop returning to it, like a lost family name.
Emptying the belly of a bomber on his own country for love of this one.
Still unbroken, the nearness of stars once caressed through the rough aperture
of light’s absence. How you cannot stop returning to it, this Americanized family name.
& this hand-woven doll at 94 you still palm tightly so none of us will notice.