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.