Poem of the Week: ‘Freeze Tag’ by Caitlee Hawley

Poem of the Week

3rd Place

Jim Gustafson
Wet Dreams

I understand the water
against my ankles
runs to the sea.
I stand each moment
in a different stream,
never in the current.
I live in the city’s eyes
where the sidewalks hold
their own, chew knee skin
for their pleasure
and let the street light
hold its slate shadow
hard against them.
Windows are cracked up.
Sheers hang around
bars in the dim
din of sound thought,
far away, almost unheard,
losing the race with light.
Back where the rain goes,
when it is done with falling
(You think it stops? No.)
it waits, stands by,
the way a pan sits in a sink,
after green beans are dished
served and dumped out
they’re ground down
to disposable juice
sent back to the waiting rain
while the sidewalks snore.

BIO:Jim Gustafson holds a Master of Divinity from Garrett Theological Seminary at Northwestern University and an MFA from the University of Tampa. His chapbook, Driving Home, was published by Aldrich Press in 2013. He teaches at Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida Southwestern State College. His work has most recently appeared in Prick of the Spindle and The Tishman Review. Jim lives in Fort Myers, Florida where he reads, writes, and pulls weeds.

2nd Place

Brandon Fucci
The Engines on the Parkway Tonight

I hear the engines on the parkway tonight,
roaring.
I hear the whoosh of displaced air,
the whirr of wheels turning.
I see the pale gleam of the tide-taunting moon
reflected in a few roaming rooftops.
I see the floating clusters of yellow lamps illuminating the winding way.
I hear the passing radio tunes coming and going, growing and fading.
Do not follow us, they sing,
for we cannot take you.
Do not follow us, for we are not the same.
But it is a fine night, they sing crisp and clear,
a fine night in the moonlight,
a fine night to roar.

1st Place

Caitlee Hawley
Freeze Tag

I know a girl who folded herself up like a paper crane.
She fit layers of clothes over each other like her skin was playing freeze tag with itself,
but when her collarbones could cut glass she finally felt more like King of the Hill.
There were days when she hurried, like the space between her thighs was an hourglass and time was running out,
like she had an appointment somewhere to become invisible.

I know a girl who made herself into a flower,
Bruises blossomed like comets and constellations on her arms
but her heart stayed so heavy that she tried to starve it, too.

She must have wondered, like I did, how a feather could look so full of lead.

BIO:
When I’m not trying to write an award-winning biography of myself, I’m a strict follower of the typical starving artist routine – fitting words in where I can while retail and “The Man” slowly suck out my soul. I am a lover of new pens and old cats and winning poetry competitions on cool websites.

Cultured Vultures Poem of the Week

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