Honorable Mention: 2023 Sandy Crimmins Poetry Contest



all the way back to when i was shrieking and my sister was too

pointing at juicy rhododendron

in the immigrant yard    ie the Big Opportunity bouquet


now move    i am consciously yearning

to get back to the hilarious of a near unknown    a toddler mind

of anticipation



motherboards    school districts  everything tightens

around revisionist history

its not mumbai or bombay  but new world

though what to un name

an implied no-name fate like urban boundary line


can we upend the field and the sea. no question

this this is not that different    yet another project of long violence

worshipped thru lead paint siding     plastic milk cups of petrichor

that seep out of the earth in the early morning

froglets that leap from feet falling on a sodden lawn

its not silicon valley but silicon forest

so sudden and devoid

inside this holding of white reserve and tact     please say only one thing

it is pastoral through its gnosis, no         it is a 90s network imaginary  no


it is a test site for arranged marriage casteist progeny

ibid assimilationist light skinned success story    ibid neoliberal

 imperial  generational  deep well



now we have no birth order

or gender adjustment for falsified belonging          we ruined it, gladly

no debt arrangement for time lost           for years never mine to begin with

now i move consciously into a chaos magic of yearning

its a hot to the touch jaggery scented transmission           here are my friends

that ive made   and some space to sit in the garden

Leena Joshi is an artist, educator, and child of immigrants living in Oakland, California. Leena’s written works can be found in SFMoMA’s Open Space, the Berkeley Poetry Review, the Felt, Monday: the Jacob Lawrence Gallery Journal, TAGVVERK, La Norda Specialo, Poor Claudia, and bluestockings magazine, among others. They hold an MFA from the University of California, Berkeley’s department of Art Practice and a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, Seattle.