STEPHEN DUNN PRIZE IN POETRY WINNER:
Crow’s Sugar

I stole a watermelon from your kitchen. I must have been about 18.
I’m thinking of a black-eyed angel.

The other boys said you weren’t worth your salt if you weren’t tasting me.
I hid my virginity under my shirt. And that summer we sang

like we had azaleas bottlenecked in our throats
when we’d catch a storm from the porch, our laundry swung on the muscular thunder.

A piece of me is corroded.
Rigor or love in our small fingers—a sweet sort of choking,

The squash, the corn all sweeter than antifreeze—I must have been about 18.
I was full of your seed and the lavender came down like a motorcade.

That summer was the summer God told me stars used to be audible.
Does it have to be a full six octaves of guns between us?

A piece of me is corroded. Is submerged.

Stars hit high notes. Ella and everybody up there,
throwing our heads back, letting the howl bloom upright—

They told me to drown your name in the second and third chorus of Ave Maria.
Nobody told me to call the crows Sugar.

I must have been about 18.
Back pew bridge to sorrow, wailing

if you wasn’t tasting me on clean linen on newly tarred roads
if you wasn’t teasing me out on a string.

Ella and everybody up there wailing, I’m thinking of  a black-eyed angel,
the dope boy in the attic. Marry me! I am full of your seed.

Once I stole a watermelon from your kitchen.
You poured salt on and ate to the rind.

A piece of me is corroded. Leaves a stain
of beets between my lips—sweeter than antifreeze on newly tarred roads,

the lavender came down like a motorcade in spring.

My body was a carcass. You poured salt on
and ate to the rind. But wasn’t there syrup once?

Wasn’t it sound, rigor or love? In our small hands
crickets shuck the night & leave their skin.

My body was a carcass. Ella and everybody up there wailing.
I’m thinking of a black-eyed angel, the dope boy in the attic

innocent as Anne, as a wolf under the moon. Stars hit high notes.
A full six octaves of guns. Wasn’t it sound?

I hid my virginity under my shirt. A stain of beets on our laundry
when we started hunting with revolvers, kneading the dead through soil.

I am full of your seed. I must have been about 24.
Nobody told me to call the crows Sugar.

This summer a whale, finchlike, eats from the uncoiled knot of my hand.

 

 

 

 

3 Responses to “STEPHEN DUNN PRIZE IN POETRY WINNER:
Crow’s Sugar”

  1. Rethabile Molapo

    This poem just touched the end parts of my body. ..inspiring me to talk heart outta my mind
    Wow you talented period girl♡♡

  2. Richard Cambridge

    Only poetry can do this. If I can experience one or two poems like “Crow’s Sugar” a year, I have lived.

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