by Shawn Nacona
Honorable Mention, September 2014
Judged by Suzanne Lummis

Each as fucked up as the next;
my siblings, we evacuated
our nest as if it were on fire, and
it was a lick of flame
that seared our skin daily
unfurling from the tongue
of our Münchausen mother
like an inferno that erupts
from the mouth of Ancalagon
to consume those who would rob her
of attentions— those precious metals
far more dear than we. She
forced us to flee, leap out
into the world despite the fall, jump
though we never learned
to properly fly, and so we lie;
fledglings strewn among the roots,
but each damaged differently—
now we nurse our wounds
day by day, accordingly.

The opening lines echo the first stanza of Philip Larkin's most notorious poem (and his best beloved): They fuck you up, your mum and dad./They may not mean to, but they do./They fill you with the faults they had/And add some extra, just for you.

Such a nightmare vision this short poem packs, such horror. I sense that there's more to be said, more to be made, of this mad woman and her scarred family, more poems, more stories, to be forged in the heat of that furnace. --Suzanne Lummis