Shortlisted Work

Poetry Shortlist

On Valleys
Kristy Kwok

I never learned how to lie in Cantonese. I can lie in English, second language coming second nature without a second thought: banalities are easy when I’ve assimilated the border so easily that when I say English is my mother tongue it doesn’t feel like it isn’t true. My mother’s

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Lantern
Anastasia Jill

I lost my virginity to fireflies strung between two oak trees and a stream— I didn’t scream, but watched fire burn in the wood.I walk there now, barefoot, find the bug not like other bugs striking crooked match legs against rotten floor— a good bug, just like me full of

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Poseidon
Amber Moss

In Florida, we swim with the manatees and I tell you about the time I thought I was going to drown in three feet of water hugging my navel. You say typical, Black people can’t swim, as if your flesh doesn’t match mine but you dip in the water and

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Childhood
Juhean Rhee

Our childhood ended on the day we learned that chocolate bars had insect legs in them. When we were only children, we wanted to see where the land ended and the fog began and dispersed, like an eclipse of moths. We wanted to go driving to watch the mountains disappear

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Heredity
Shurouq Ibrahim

Hand over your feelings. I’ll confine them between my flaky hands, hold them like a finicky child might hold a captive butterfly, and pour them into a clear glass jar resembling the one my mother uses to store her sesame seeds and dried thyme. And I’ll screw the cap on,

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Ode to Summer
Caitlin Cacciatore

O sweet summer, O honey dripping like amber from our lips – why must we deprive the bees of the fruits of their labor; why do we pick summer’s last roses to put on display? let them melt into the good and giving earth; allow the petals to fade and

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Peonies
Ron Bernas

They come too early and are spent before the party they were to have served as a conversation piece for, or are so late they are overshadowed because the stargazers had come out, or are sparse this year, or so full they can’t be believed. So, they lay their magnificent,

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