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Poetry Contest Second Place Winner

Featured image by Linda Hoffman Kimball

Second Place: Anne Thomas



after Joy Harjo


To begin, you feel the air alive

             On your skin, breathing from space

             Bigger than you can see.

You shield your eyes from the sun,

             Find the grace of shadow from a tree.

You let motion show itself—

              Leaves lifting like leaves do,

              Sky turning like sky does,

And the gift will come:

              Magpie sweeping tapered tail,

              Yin-yang wings embracing

              Bright space above branch,

              Considering and shimmering.

We are given

             When we hold out our hands.

Honorable Mention (First)

Instructions on Not Giving Up

after Ada Limón

Before the greening,

when the gray still seeps

and the branches stamp

stark woodblock prints on the sky,

find what opens you. The breath

the cold draws out of you,

its fierce stroking of your skin.

The snowberries sparkling through

the bare brush like thoughts.

The busy nomad village

of thrushes populating your trees

like leaves, feathers ruffled and warmed

with streaks of rust and conversation.

This abundance of visitors

passing through winter with you.

Anne Thomas is pursuing a PhD in Plant Ecology at the University of Cambridge. Everywhere she lives, she writes as a way of loving the place.

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