Congratulations to AKaiser for winning first place in poetry for the 2020 WNBA Writing Contest!
You can read the winning entry, “Where/There,” below.
her body ceases
to be the pinto bean-sized version of her
being swallowed up
in an easy chair. She unhinges
her hip & plays
rummy on the floor with us like she used
to at the smoky tables of casino
backrooms where she could still
read the cards where she’d risk her
last hand if it came to that.
to get her sister whose
1$-filled knit mittens protected us
every Christmas whose eyes
are now her
sole moving parts in the home across
from the scrubby field next
to her lunch spot. Daily handmade soup
& they stir it together
then head west to better clean
the catheter that had to go into their
shriveling sister not eating because of
growth in her gut. I give
back the crusted gold & pearl earring from
the aunt who welcomed me when it was my
turn to tolerate a body
turned on itself & don’t go back to sleep-
ing back against the heater but to road
the lakes where they take me & my
tongued friend where we
collect see-through water from each & every
one of the five & the gambling aunt opens
wine for us
brushing up against the age of drink.
The other aunt sips
cooled birch juice & they return to their
sure factory work a likely excuse
to get beyond
& I imagine them all roommates strong
minds & arms holding & being
held & symbiotic secrets sprouting
AKaiser, PhD, is the Pushcart Prize-nominated author of <glint>, co-winner of the inaugural Milk and Cake Press Book Prize. Second manuscript, <trace>. Her doctorate is in Translation & Intercultural Studies, and she is currently translating a collected works of Catalan poet Anna Gual as well as writing a biography of city-garden advocate & transatlantic utopian, Cebrià Montoliu. She was a 2020 Fellow with ATLAS Vice Versa Translation Workshops and Resident at Sundress Academy for the Arts. She will be a 2021 Resident at la Cité International des Arts.
View the list of all of the 2020 WNBA Writing Contest winners.