Poem of the Week: ‘Where the Floors Should Have Been’ by Lauren Raheja

Poem of the Week by Lauren

3rd Place
‘The Phases of Diana’ by Jamie Smith

You’ll be unlucky to catch her first of all
She’s in a dark mood
Nights of mischief will surely follow

Best to avoid her next
Caught between waxing and waning, unstable
mimicking faces of both sweetness and malice

You’ve caught her reflection, and it’s hard not to gaze
A whirlwind of temptation

Love aside, dusk approaches
And her need for revenge, is a bitter resentful warrior
Her scorn, unyielding pain

Waning, she begins to simmer down
Embracing the purity of a simple life
She bears children
Her shining stars.

BIO:I discovered poetry after realising I didn’t have the patience for writing stories. I’ve been writing for about five months now, and have never looked back…”

2nd Place
‘Sewing the Sea’ by Neil Slevin

Fishing for water,

sewing the sea,

you sit on your wood

by water swept and beaten quay,

passing no heed

to ticking time nor tide,

nor in the distance, me.


And shimmering

on the water

is your joy;

the sunlight’s speckle

bobbing your face,

settling like stardust

in your golden hair’s embrace.


All happening

in this moment –

not that you seem to notice,

and not that you seem to care;

for you are at labour,

lost within your working world,

just another day’s laissez-faire:


your legs swaying

to the freedom

of the water’s flow and flair,

its splashes freckling

the day’s outlook,

your life (at least right now)

all moderate to fair.


Because for now

you are free to stitch

your own ties,

ones that will exert

their own force,

but – not now –

later, in due course.


And so,

not having moved,

you return to your post,

sewing the sea,

fishing for water, almost.

BIO: Neil is an M.A. in Writing student at the National University of Ireland, Galway, who writes for The Sin (N.U.I.G’s student newspaper), and reports for ILAS (a campus centre providing community-based initiatives for the local area). He is sixwordmemoir.com‘s Memoirist of the Month for October 2015.

1st Place
‘Where the Floors Should Have Been’ by Lauren Raheja

One push down, push to the right
and pull out a chalky blue diamond.
Put it in your mouth.
The way I’m looking at the sidewalk
isn’t novel, but it’s 12:17
and I’ve already realized I’m in love with you.
After a funeral procession on a sunny day
you said “what they are to each other
we are to each other,”
so bed peace
had to become obsolete;
bed peace
was suitable when one image
possessed the voodoo of gravity enough
to shock, terrorize and mobilize;
a photograph of a human man
whose brain was seconds away
from losing coherence and form
was an aberration
instead of the fabric
from which each day’s news is sewn.
Bed peace had to be replaced
with purslane growing
in the cracks of the sidewalk peace,
with paint
on the floorboards peace,
with denim stained
with bubble solution and beer peace,
with trees too tough to climb peace.
It’s been either forty-six months
or two days
since we found fainting couch peace
in a filthy house with broken furniture
and moss where the floors should have been,
where revelations
washed over our other selves
like the tide over shells,
cozy in their imprints
in the sand.
Nearly 2,000 miles away,
our grieving hands just barely touched.


BIO: Lauren Raheja writes, paints, and waits tables in St. Paul, MN. Her poetry has been published in Leveler and Keep This Bag Away From Children and her articles in City Limits, Grist, Brooklyn The Borough, Feministing, Whistling Shade, and The Star Tribune.

Cultured Vultures Poem of the Week

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