The 2021 Industry Prize, 2nd Place Winner: I Tell My Mother I Don’t Think Trying to Get Pregnant During a Pandemic is Good Idea by Michelle Peñaloza

And here’s the 2nd Place Winner of the 2021 Industry Prize and $300, selected by judges Jenny Molberg of Pleaiedes Press and Michael Wiegers of Copper Canyon Press. Please also enjoy the winning poem by Eduardo Martinez-Levya here. Stay tuned tomorrow the 3rd place poem by Anders Villani.



Everyone assumes we know how to love. Where did
you first learn (or did you ever)? In this blooming

a message: the bird which heals itself
is bandaged by an unseen hand. I asked

the earth to distill into one bone, into
the nadir of a mountain. I found buried there

my fear transformed into a jackrabbit
bounding away from me, an upside-down

heart moving across the Ouija board of this valley
reminding me that time is a floating island,

a menagerie of stars and crystals growing from children’s
play lab kits and nautilus lisps — I asked: child

or no child — and the apple gave me the gift
of four seeds, perfect wisdom if not

wooden—what is the difference between
earth and terra? The landscape unfolds, unspools

like a slow plume. The chrysalis is a crossroads.
A fat grub born every minute. The air fat

with feathers in this ceremony of eternal candles.
La luna changes her mind often—child or no child

—blooming a new face, unraveled ligature
unbound and unbothered.




Michelle Peñaloza

—2nd Place Winner of the 2021 Industry Prize—

Michelle Peñaloza is the author of Former Possessions of the Spanish Empire, winner of the 2018 Hillary Gravendyk National Poetry Prize (Inlandia Institute, 2019). She is also the author of two chapbooks, landscape/heartbreak (Two Sylvias, 2015), and Last Night I Dreamt of Volcanoes (Organic Weapon Arts, 2015). Her work can be found in The Georgia Review, River Styx, Prairie Schooner, New England Review, Poetry Northwest and elsewhere. The proud daughter of Filipino immigrants, Michelle was born in the suburbs of Detroit, MI and raised in Nashville, TN. She now lives in rural Northern California.

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