Exodus

by Shawn Nacona
Babilu
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


  • January 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      How the Wind Works
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Sleep Walker
      by Brenda Levy Tate
      PenShells

      Third Place

      The Woman Who Grew up in My House Finds Me on Facebook and Comes to Take a Look Around
      by Antonia Clark
      The Waters

  • December 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Tires
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Babilu

      Second Place

      Scouring Pots While the World Ends
      by Elizabeth Koopman
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Poetry in the Cultural Revolution
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters