Honorable Mention: Self as a Bog

Mostly because in the north, Sundews thrive.
Mostly, because lamps cannot evolve, unless
taken apart, maybe reused. Or they are thrown away.
Hands dictate their function. (Hands are important.)

The lamp I was given with its ridiculously long neck
by a sister who does not speak to me
hangs above a fifty year old cracked linoleum floor
covered with wool carpet.

Everything decomposes slowly.
Lack of nutrients force adaptation. A mosquito bites
a left ankle. The mosquito scans honey beads
hanging deliciously at the Sundew’s tip and that is enough.

The Sundew closes, digests, what it lacks
from sphagnum moss, it gains from meat.

(Under the lamp’s light, I carefully stitch Moroccan-styled
pillows to celebrate a daughter’s sixteenth birthday.)

Everyone’s life should begin with a stream,
stepping stones, Lucia wearing a green hat,
here is where to begin.
After hundreds of years, in a matter of days,

a bog can be destroyed.
Still, I am rainwater.
I love what is unexpected.
What falls from the sky falls into me.

Still, no one chooses to swim here.
No one longs to curl a hand around acidic water unmoved for years.
Pitcher plants, Sundews, Great Grey Owls—
They live in spite.


Amy Small-McKinney has discovered that being a late bloomer is quite wonderful. She was the 2011 Montgomery County Poet Laureate, selected by poet, Christopher Bursk. Her new book of poems, Life is Perfect, is forthcoming from BookArts Press (April 16, 2013).

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