Poem of the Week: ‘Lost (a haibun)’ by Elizabeth Alford

Poem of the Week

3rd place

‘No More’
Rohan Chakraborty

‘Did we ever actually leave oblivion?’

We sit in greasy vests
Smoking cigarettes, last pounds
In balance, imbalanced credit,
Waiting for Him to come.

Our manors are cracked down and
Our light bulbs are faulty and
Our children have spit at their feet,

So who are we?

‘Landlord, oh Lord
Who art in haven
Hallowed be thy game,
Thy street pavements come
We will be done for…
On earth, please save us.’

‘Six more weeks, alright?’

So we drink in Holy Spirits
Awaiting forty dole nights,
No sight, in darkness, we sink
Hurl social sick near bath brinks,

Or street brink, more like.

They go live to the nation
Documenting the common habitat of the
Estate rat, ha! We would laugh too

If it wasn’t us,

Us getting knifed in street gloom,
Us getting scorned and fooled,
Our children about to be taken away sooner,
Never later, but

It’s all in good humour, isn’t it?

‘No, and we never will.’

BIO: Rohan Chakraborty is a 15-year-old student from London. He is currently working on an anthology for his Duke of Edinburgh Award and enjoys poetry as a hobby.

2nd Place

Adiba Jaigirdar

I gave up fireflies for the taste of metal in my mouth
and blinked away the nights of star-lit skies
above our intertwined fingers

I miss the bravery of the pure,
moments of invincibility when
the tickle of spider-legs on my shoulder was joy
the feel of cockroaches in my bare hands, fascination

These days I can barely speak,
my lips are sewn together with knowledge I once craved
but the touch of our fingertips is no longer magic

Our eyes are too dead
with worries and pains and memories
and the dwindling magic between

I once believed magic was knowledge,
knowledge was freedom

magic is a myth.
innocence is freedom.

BIO: Adiba Jaigirdar is an Irish/Bangladeshi writer and poet. She’s previously been published in wordlegs, About Place Journal and Dual Coast Magazine.

1st Place

‘Lost (a haibun)’
Elizabeth Alford

Her name was lost to me in the echoes of San Francisco—a confusion of honking behemoths, looming traffic signals, and mechanical sighs; the blaze of glaring brake lights reflecting red in windows, windshields, signs; surrounded on all sides by towers and people going coldly about their business.

graffiti artists
bow before canvassed concrete
spray their signatures

Her name was lost from the moment I found myself lost: fresh off the train and wandering with the desperation of a homeless man who drops his change on the white-splattered sidewalks; hears the ring of scattering coins, watches them roll into the streets—knowing he may not eat tonight.

wrapper in the trash
reveals a cheeseburger half
someone else’s meal

My phone remains silent though I have left many messages. I interrogate myself instead: How long has it been? Did I miss her at the station? Did we just walk past each other like the two strangers that we actually are? And will I spend the rest of this evening—the rest of my life—searching these faceless streets, cowering beneath blinking skyscrapers of anonymity?

reaching for the fog
on the edge of memory
everyone is lost

BIO: Elizabeth Alford is a magna cum laude graduate of California State University, East Bay (B.A. English, 2014). She lives in Hayward, California with her fiancé and mother and co-hosts the reading group Poetry Express, based in Berkeley. Her work has recently appeared at Quatrain.Fish, PoetryExpressed, Silver Birch Press, Failed Haiku, and Hedgerow.

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