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WINNERPOEM OF THE MONTHCONTEST

It was Jude Nutter who wrote,
“The world is a grave. With all its exits
barred.”* And I wondered
how she knew at such a young age
the vagaries of existence –
the desolation and destruction.

I wondered how she knew the cost
of living a life that seems daily like a death –

our contrite confessions aside, there must be more
that allows us to soar above our mundane
toil than this coiled, curling crypt.

I wondered how anyone ever knew
this and why more of us are not scarred
or scared shitless.

How do we carry on surrounded by this gilded gyre –
its din of clutching beetles and maggots
running rampant in the darkness, spilling
disease and unrest, famine and fear.

This world that takes from, wants from, needs
– siphoning the soul one ounce at a time,
hollowing out until only a shell is left, a single
carapace as reminder of what might have been.

I remember a family gathering
hugging and mugging with cousins and siblings,
reminiscing and celebrating aunties and uncles, yet

amid the laughter feeling so lonely –
                    so very alone –
that I had to hold myself tightly
in check to keep from
stepping out –

I had to stop myself from running
down the highway. I had to focus on
NOT screaming,
“This world is a grave!”
And I understood:

There are no exits.

*First lines of “Epitaph on Interstate 80, Nevada,” The Curator of Silence, by Jude Nutter.

-Annette Gagliardi

——

Annette Gagliardi is the winner of the NinaAlvarez.net Poem of the Month Contest, May 2018.

Annette has been writing poetry since the early 1980s and has been published in various magazines, area newspapers, and anthologies, and has won poetry awards. She visits elementary classrooms and shares poetry lessons, writing, and gives talks about her two children’s books. You can learn more about her at http://www.annettegagliardi.com

——

Many thanks to all those who submitted your beautiful and transcendent work.

Submissions to the Poem of the Month Contest are always open.

And check out our two new recently opened contests:

Cosmographia Prize for Spiritual Fiction

Cosmographia Prize for Spiritual Nonfiction

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