Congratulations to Sarah Crossland of Manassas, Virginia, who has been selected by contest judge Matthea Harvey as the winner of our 15th Annual Poetry Contest. Crossland will receive a prize of $1,500, and all of her winning poems will be published in our November/December issue and online. As a sneak preview, heres one of the poems from Crosslands captivating entry.
Learn more about BR’s writing contests.
What parents do not tell their children is that there are no bones
in toys. No hard secrets. Only air
that when pressed out smells of a foreign country.
This is November of an early year and already
I am braiding hair: synthetic manes the color of thistle
and steel, trussed with tinselslippery
as my tongue in my own mouth.
The horses names I know by symbols
stamped on their flanks. Pinwheel, Parasol,
Lickety-Split, Gustythis is the catalogue
of my small human dominion.
I have them act out plays,
and at the end of the hall, outside
my doorway, my mother sorts the medicine in the closet,
bandages with tweezers, iodine from calamine
talking to herself
rubbing alcohol, cotton balls, Triaminic...
Every character is given an epiphany:
the new king wakes in the middle
of the night, tossing off his sleep cap,
and the scientistin an orchard
cosseted with windreceives the good pendragon apple
in his lap. Time divvies, as simple
as it sounds, it delivers us
moments. So what sort of chime or present
does it take to understand that others
can hear you speak? That you are a person capable
of making sounds with meaning.
My mother asks what I am doing.
Embarrassment canters its tight track around my cheeks.
So I invent an epidemic
of silence. Slowly the ponies begin to whisper,
gathering their voices behind them
though only half-disguised, their monologues
now like a company of ghosts covered in white sheets.
Then finally quiet surrounding.
It has been years like this.
Tell me, tell me
there will be a time again
to announce our imagination,
whatever animals we are holding in our hands.