The 2021 Industry Prize, 3rd Place Winner: Poison by Anders Villani

Thrilled to share the final poem of the 2021 Industry Prize, the 3d Place Winner, selected by judges Jenny Molberg of Pleaiedes Press and Michael Wiegers of Copper Canyon Press, “Poison” by Anders Villani. Please also enjoy the winning poem by Eduardo Martinez-Levya here, and the 2nd place poem by Michelle Peńaloza here.


Our father, naked on the bed’s long edge, calls
Our fathe shorebird formation that flew over him

at sunrise a fire-ant trail. At one end, cloud
fruit, a loquat from our old tree, jammy
Our faand breathing; at one end, the nest. His

hamstrings oily as if with lanolin. Bedspring creak and the
Our facrinkle of him biting black

cotton underwear from its wrapper. None of these sounds
bells. Bedside food scraps and medical books.

Our faOur father spits staples into the shag. They vanish.
Would a good son recover them? Would a good son
Our faurge him not to dress after what you did in visiting hours,

not to raise the venetians? How forcing sky
into flesh risks breaking it—the flesh, the sky.

Our faGod’s been whispering to you in a child’s voice. Like all children
raised in a house without God, maybe we were
Our fathe lucky ones—raised in a house where God stood

a chance of being truly infinite. Or this just vacant
prayer for you. Like the storm-scent of loom-fresh cotton. Like the violet
Our fanight, weeks before they sold the house,

when our father went to the back shed for nails
Our faand saw the loquat tree breathing. Glinting. You’ve
heard this one. Orion’s Belt in the torch beam. The eyes

of thousands upon thousands of rats. The bells
Our faof our father’s breath digesting

that what happened next would be barbaric, like the remoteness
Our faof telling you not to come home.


For my brother




Anders Villani

—3rd Place Winner of the 2021 Industry Prize—

Anders Villani holds an MFA from the University of Michigan's Helen Zell Writers' Program, where he received the Delbanco Prize for poetry. He is the author of two collections: Aril Wire (Five Islands Press, 2018); and Totality, forthcoming in 2022 from Recent Work Press. A PhD candidate at Monash University and assistant poetry editor of Australian Book Review, he lives in Melbourne.

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