Industry Prize, 1st Place Winner: After April Rain by Elizabeth Oxley
We’re all very excited to share with you the winners of the 2019 Frontier Industry Prize, selected by Jeff Shotts, Sarah Gambito, and Kwame Dawes. Today, we’re honored to share the winning poem: “After April Rain” by Elizabeth Oxley—a solid, packed-tightly, performance of language as grief-investigator, as transformative power. Elizabeth has been a finalist with Frontier before, and the whole editorial team is so excited that the judges saw the value of her work and awarded her the prize this time around!
After April Rain
When the dogwood in our yard drips
dry, pink blooms erupt like wounds. Knowing me,
my brother once said, be sure to live outside
of sadness. I craved storms the way some were
addicted to drugs or horses, I adored
the word flank for its military muscle.
On my left sits gloom, on my right
the memory of a Buddhist monk.
He was passing through town. I made
an appointment. About my daughter,
he said, she will do what you do. After that,
I sought silver linings without edges
sharpened, drank chamomile tea,
kept a journal until I turned coward.
Finding my daughter in the bathroom,
I calculate our odds and press a cloth
to her arm. She drops the blade in a corner
crammed with dirty laundry. I couldn’t speak
until now. No longer captive to her grief,
my daughter points to full moons and horses
clustered in a mountain field, hooves
carving columbine. She climbs the fence,
feet covering ground, planted on rock.
I think girl and hear thunder.
Elizabeth Oxley is a graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., but would like to give a shout-out to Franklin University in Lugano, Switzerland, where she made lifelong friends and met the music of the Gipsy Kings. She's currently spending time in Panama, learning Spanish from Uber drivers. She usually lives in Colorado. Her work has appeared in Frontier, The Poetry Review, Ruminate, Peregrine, Motherscope Magazine, The Colorado Independent, and Boneshaker: A Bicycling Almanac. She loves letters. Please write to her via www.ElizabethOxley.com.