Read more on their website. Congratulations to all the winners, finalists, and fellow longlisters!
The words for you were hidden in your fibers,
buried in your tissue, emblazoned instructions
on every cell membrane to jerk, shake, whirl, and beat
to a rhythm of your own making,
as if I were meant to dance while still . . .
At CVS, a woman toes the tape line
marking a safe six feet from where I stand.
She stares at me slantwise, suspicious,
and turns away when I meet her gaze . . .
Texas doesn’t know what to make of her.
Is she white or colored? Rice-paper skin
folds at the corners of her origami eyes,
black like her hair. Mexican? they guess . . .
No. Those rising tones, tense as a violin
note suspended on a string, died with my grandfather
when I was too young to remember his funeral
except for the juice box I drank from:
Juicy Juice, green apple . . .