Judged by Melissa Studdard 

Winner: Ann Youmans

AnnWS.jpg

 

152 Miles from Nagasaki

“Do the ghosts in America have their feet?”

my student asks.

After six months of wrestling English syntax,

a student asks this question.

I recall old houses, hometowns,

stories told late at night,

and have to tell her,

“There is no rule”

in a classroom of rules,

a country of rules,

arguments about whether

rules can change.

The ghosts in America

have long, long arms

and grasping fingers

that turn the pages of my history book.

Some of them wave flags

that I think we handed them

and are those our words repeated

three times to the mirror at midnight?

What do I tell my student

about these rules

that brought these ghosts

insupportable as ghostly feet?

Please find her interview here:

Runner-up:  Christiana Sasa

The Old Flavour

the dinner

scheduled at seven

by that time

I must brush

the dusts of dead moon

off my face

dented

with your customary kisses


 

I must stain

my lips bold red

to hide

the marks of my words

I never said to you

and the rich colour

of the wine

must push the tears back on

my smoky waterlines


 

your gaze greedily

tracing the waitress’s waist-

line

getting thicker and thicker

of the spicy sauce

as you play

on your plate

with your little spoon

I cradle the soup

hot

but it scalds my

taste-buds,

numbs the dots of flesh


 

the bed

time arrives

we are supposed to fill

in the blanks

you are right beside me

but I am sleeping with

the sniff of the old days

smudged on the bed sheet

dry scars of memory,

wet blood of

tingling moments

rushing in my head

Top 20:

3. Colour of thirst by Fotoula Reynolds

4. one big loud thing unheard by Dean Gessie

5. There are no pianos in Hell by Steven Lebow

6. The Wrapper by Adrian Slonaker

7. Deathbed Play List by Arthur Turfa

8. I Will Fall Sick if You Photograph Me by Jhilam Chattaraj

9. Lady With A Pennywhistle by Bruce Moody

10. Looking for a Sign by Guinotte Wise

11. Mary, Mary, quite contrary by Denise O’Hagan

12. Mucking Out the Stalls by Sarah Carey

13. Ocracoke Night Magic by Ann Christine Tabaka

14. One Must Dance Naked by Alfred K. LaMotte

15. Quilting Sessions by Wesley Sims

16. Rape of the Sea by Aria Ligi

17. Shuffle Songs by Christopher M James

18. Silence - a lost art by Megha Sood

19. Tarot Trump VI: The Lovers by Wim Coleman

20. Web by Eliza Segiet

The Pangolin Review Team