2006 Jeanne Lohmann Poetry Prize Winners

 

Claire McQuerry Claire McQuerry is from Richland, Washington. She is currently earning her MFA in poetry writing from Arizona State University. Claire is an assistant editor for the journal Hayden's Ferry Review and was recently named a 2006 summer fellow by the Virginia Piper Center for Creative Writing.

 

Kelli Russell AgodonKelli Russell Agodon is the author of two books of poems, Small Knots (2004) and Geography, winner of the 2003 Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award.

 

Janet Norman Knox – Janet Norman Knox’s poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and have appeared in journals such as Red Mountain Review, Diagram, Rhino, Diner, Seattle Review, Cranky Literary Journal, Pearl, Adirondack Review, Can We Have Our Ball Back? and in the anthologies Pontoon 6, 7, and 8 and Red, White, and Blues (Iowa University Press). Her chapbooks were finalists in the Concrete Wolf 2006 and Red Mountain Review and New Michigan Press 2005 contests.

 

 

 

 

Poem for the Paris Metro

 

It was Sunday's last run, day nearly

gone, she drifting alone on the platform

at Varenne (beside Rodin's Penseur

in bronze), sad in her raincoat. And I don't

 

know why I should recall her now, except

that faces have stopped making

sense, have turned to floating debris

at the end of a tunnel's dark throat.

 

I've become like the catfish or any

skimmer of murky depths whose

jellied eyes know only

a glimmer of scale amid the shiftings

 

of dark particulate. It's the perpetual

unlight that makes you work

your gills, crave a cigarette against

the tightness that is not caused by lack

 

of oxygen, but absence of sky. Charonne,

Voltaire, Ambroise- aretes like beads,

jabber down a rosary of track in profane

prayer. And the morning crowds

 

that ebb to afternoon trickle, swell

with evening's rush, and the doors that sigh

and close with a shudder, the capsulate fluorescence,

leave always the same impression:

 

dark coats, pale cheeks, dirty walls. Until, after

a time, desire dissolves to one

insistent dream-le reve le plus beau-

undying day. Northern Alaska, let us say, mid-

 

June. Mademoiselle in her raincoat

beside me. We sun ourselves at midnight,

and, even in summer, our toes freeze in floating

light. Shallows of a glacial lake.

 

                                    Claire McQuerry

 

 

I Stay Up All Night and Grieve for the Future

 

 

You make me vegetable curry

and I am too hungry to taste it.

 

You love my garden.

I plant a fence.

 

There are lentils on your shirt

and while the untouched roasted

 

garlic is the moon, the moon

is the unsaid Gaelic prayer

 

I whisper when you are sleeping.

Let me be your absentminded lover,

 

the split wishbone

confusing broke for misery. I sing

 

in your dreams- Ar n-aran laethuil

tabhair duinn inniu-

 

and when your hands open,

I look from your emptiness-

 

everything and too much, half

a fig and you give me more.

 

I sew poverty to my blouse

and blame you for providing

 

the thread and needle. You stitch me

a new shirt, the pockets are full

 

of spices. I open my lips and your breath

fills me. Tonight it is enough.

 

                                    Kelli Russell Agodon

 

Note: Ar n-ardn laethuil tabbair duinn inniu is Irish Gaelic for "Give us this day our daily bread" from

"The Lord's Prayer."

 

 

The Beauty of the Husband in Fall

 

When you called to ask me

to give you more time I was sure

 

we were new lovers breathless

with chance unsure unsure

 

afraid when one button unthreads

itself through its hole a wrist

 

a forearm wanting

to run from the room avert

 

eyes or danger or making

mistakes and now you bare

 

your need for patience

to change adjust to what

 

befalls you

need in running

 

a family because

I can only bear

 

seeing one part of your body

again for the first time.

 

                                   

                                    Janet Norman Knox