Tag Archives: Pushcart nominee

Where I First Was Happy by Brian Koester

dust in Nevada desert
 

Where I First Was Happy   The twilight was never silver, but the trees were Russian olives. I was the only thing that bloomed there. Grandma’s petunias back by the house were really white, And the pair of white horses never lay down. The rest was grey: barns and fence posts In matching dust, fine and smooth as refined flour. Stirred up it could hang and fade like fog. Now I feel like dust dispersed in air, Settling over hours, days, taking the shape Of what it touches, to move through high desert On Grandad’s … Continue reading Where I First Was Happy by Brian Koester

Sliding by Anne Carle Carson

snowy neigborhood road
 

It had just snowed a heavy snow, and my mother picked us up early from school. The roads were not that scary or impassable, but she drove with great care that day anyway—this was Richmond, Virginia and no one was accustomed to snow there. We sat bundled in the grey Chevrolet station wagon, all four kids in our colorful, puff polyester coats. I remember liking that name, Chevrolet, saying it over and over to myself. The radio broadcasted the AM station, the one that always shared the school closings or delays, and how much snow … Continue reading Sliding by Anne Carle Carson

Spirit Duplicator by Alex Joyner


 

Robert E. flippin’ Lee’s church pew. Is there any more compromised bench in all of Christendom? It occupies some middle ground of sacrality at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Orange, Virginia. I scowled as I walked past it, despite the attraction it held for me as youth. What white, Virginia boy of a certain age didn’t thrill to know that here sat (God, did we call him?…yes, we did) ‘Marse’ Lee, snowy head bowed in prayer with Traveller tied to the locust tree outside snorting mighty fog into the cold, all through the long winter … Continue reading Spirit Duplicator by Alex Joyner

Blue by Linda Nemec Foster

leaves
 

Blue   It must have been her accent that seduced and baffled my ears. The Egyptian woman, still lost in the desert air of Cairo, read her poems filled with water from the Nile and blue heaven, blue heaven, blue heaven flying over the lotus flowers. I heard “heaven” but later discovered she said “heron.” A distant cousin to the sacred ibis, herons (even blue ones) are commonplace–are everywhere–even in the non-exotic marshes of northern Ohio where another blue creation–my mother– landed. Blue Helen, blue Helen, blue Helen. The kids in Cleveland would tease her. … Continue reading Blue by Linda Nemec Foster

Invisible Girls by Tonja Matney Reynolds

Sheer girl's top that is glowing
 

We were the ones who fell between the cracks in the social order. We loathed the popular kids—the jocks, cheerleaders, and rich kids. We pitied the stoners and the nerds. To all of them, we were invisible, shadows on the tile. We wore camouflage pants, oversized shirts, shoes with untied laces, and only enough makeup to cover our zits. We were grunge before Grunge was a thing. During pep rallies, we read Sartre and Flaubert and Nietzsche. We were adored by the administration for our GPAs, AP scores, and early admission letters. We challenged the … Continue reading Invisible Girls by Tonja Matney Reynolds

Tooth by Jennifer Coffeen

Teeth lined up on a table
 

  She felt the first loose tooth at 5am on Tuesday. A back tooth on the lower left side, her wisdom tooth? She felt it the moment she woke up, lying in bed while the monitor screamed in her ear. She pushed her tongue against it and the tooth moved, like a rock rolling around in mud. Nearly painless, she found herself pushing her tongue against it over and over to the tune of the screaming monitor. It reminded her of picking a scab, how the little wince kinda felt nice. “You should do something … Continue reading Tooth by Jennifer Coffeen