The 2021 Award for New Poets, 2nd Place Winner: Herma by Samuel Piccone
We’re all very excited to share with you the winners of the 2021 Award for New Poets, selected by the guest judges Rosebud Ben-Oni, Andrés Cerpa, and Mai Der Vang. Today, we have second place winner by Samuel Piccone. Stay tuned for our 3rd Place Winner tomorrow. You can see the 1st place winner’s poem, Chibuihe Obi Achimba’s “a sonnet: a slaughter field” here. Thank you to everyone who submitted this year!
Let mine be sculpted from dead skin peeled
and kept between the mattress and the wall,
a photo of a naked woman with a blurry face,
the tissue I closed my eyes and laid
atop my mother’s weave of trimmed pubic hair
floating in the pink toilet, the gym teacher’s penis
materializing from locker room steam,
the babysitter’s tongue drawing little flowers
around my bellybutton. As if a bloom
in need, the earth opened around me
like a mouth around a bouquet of empty stems.
I was tended and made the boundary of a field
where to be touched is to be buried
by the whisper of it later. Let me believe
the past is always liminal and lost completely.
They could ruin the entire prairie with digging
and never find my heart.