{ pushcart prize nominations }

pushcart nominations.  a small thing to each, here and not.


Triin Paja
~~~Though Her Knees Touched The Soil
~~published on-site June 19th, 2018
~in volume fourth printed July 2018

Jon Cone
~~~Sleds Made of Bone
~~published on-site March 7th, 2018
~in volume third printed April 2018

Rishitha Shetty
~~published on-site March 15th, 2018
~in volume third printed April 2018

Sophia Naz
~~~Thirty Three Inuit Names of Snow
~~published on-site February 22nd, 2018
~in volume second printed March 2018

Andrew Kozma
~~~Song of the Coming to Terms With It
~~published on-site March 19th, 2018
~in volume third printed April 2018

Cynthia Manick
~~~In My Heaven
~~published on-site October 15th, 2018
~in volume sixth to print December 2018


Triin Paja

Though Her Knees Touched The Soil

when you find her crying by a radio
tell her about small yellow plums
plucked from small yellow branches.
take her to sleepy kiosks, seagulls,
loose church tiles. brush your hand
against hers, lightly, on a tram.
the radio is a tree rustling
with the leaves of father’s death.
it means her house is burnt down.
she cannot carry the ash.
she is not young but you have touched
her autumnbrown braid
cut off as a schoolgirl.
tell her about the fruit you’ve shared:
the wrinkled winter apples, the orange peels
blossoming among train tracks.
tell her until they begin to ripen
mantling grief’s bitter fruit—
tell her, for your mother tongue
is a mirror
in an abandoned farmhouse
and she will find her body
alight in your voice
saying nothing.
you will see the earth
through a stained train window
and that, which no one has called
beautiful, will be loved.
she will walk longer than you.
she is humming a name
as quiet as light


Jon Cone


There are iron
moments – how
human it is
to speak –

when one says
to another
I don’t know
& I don’t care.

Birds. A nearby
fountain. Two
homeless kings
at dusk.


Rishitha Shetty


My mother’s prayer is the act
of gathering leaves-
the shape of each syllable measured out like love,
like the first bite of fish after monsoon.

Today I hear her pray like I listen
to the rain on the window pane-
left out,
from the inside.
Perhaps praying, like a movie,
is constructed out of various acts-

the tilt of her chin,
her back curved like the top
of a flower stalk, and across her shoulder
the old purple shawl.
Or perhaps, it is lilac.

I cannot remember if it had poppies or
roses on it.
What I do remember is the shape of my mother,
and how the poppies or roses smelt of sun.
the sun feels like an afterthought,
like a volta to a sonnet
written after days.

Last night I drew a painting of the sea
And my mother approved-
she said there are only so many colors the fingers can hold,
the rest is in the folds of salt in air.

Today I see my mother
As if in a painting
that shimmers in the
monochrome of a strange new color called faith.
It falls somewhere between the
strands of escaped light from an empty fist and
the fading silhouette of my mother praying.


Sophia Naz 

Thirty Three Inuit Names of Snow

Light travels at sixty eight thousand miles a second
ergo, even as your lover’s eyelash brushes
your cheek, a glimmer has passed
into dark diurnal wells where you go
like village girls to draw
water for these lines

When you wake from wetness, clocks
are dismantling silence like
taxidermists they push
pins into sky’s chameleon feather
mining the amoebic
belly of water
to cash in on a quick rainbow
everyone’s watching for a pot of gold

While you are dreaming of a deep silence
folded in the thirty three Inuit names of snow,
What is love if not something that alights on the tongue?

Snow is the language of osmosis
synonym of a teaspoon of star soup from the first stirring
the eons old light swimming
like eels in your veins.


Andrew Kozma

Song of the Coming to Terms With It

First, the bargaining. Then the begging. And, at last, the realization
there’s no one in the room but you.

There are no terms to be had. No concessions to be won. Waiting for death
isn’t as lonely as death, but only just.

In Wales there is a pot they put the dead in. The dead boil and twist
their limbs into life, but are still dead.

And then there’s that philosophical fear that you’re the only real one here,
everyone else an automaton. Dead.

When every tree laces the ground with the dead. When the tall grass frays
and refuses to die. When storms don’t rain.

There is no it. Nothing to fear. Nothing to fight. Just the possibility of absence
and, eventually, its absence.


Cynthia Manick

In My Heaven
—–after RC Lewis

Everything begins with
hunger. Some crave Bartlett
pears, trees that breathe,
playing violin on gold roads.

Others only answer to their
animal names, knowing
which heart chamber calls

to the wolf, the sheep,
the jackal. In my heaven
the currency is words–
people sing or recite

verb to noun to buy
burgers and cake, furniture
like wide screen TVs

that show favorite programs
on loop with no commercials-
Soul Train, I Dream of Jeanie,
and Happy Days.

Each corner of heaven
is guarded by statues
of poets. They hold pens

as spears. When you rub
their stoned feet, you hear
dialects-dipped in Marian
Anderson arias.

In my heaven Ms. Rose
plays the numbers
and hits every week.

Our shadows talk to other
shadows, have smoke-shaped
tea or whiskey at noon.
They visit bonfires

to show their best forms
in the light. When you turn
18, 35 or 68 in my heaven,

you lay on a bed of tobacco
and ivy leaves, and the stems
shelter as you watch stars
fade into each other.

3 thoughts on “{ pushcart prize nominations }

  1. Great to see James Cone receive a much deserved Pushcart Prize Nomination! You keep chasing that Truth, my man! Also, I’d like thank Barton Smock for seeing the Genius in James Cones work and giving it the credit it deserves!


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