2019 Fall Contest Winner: Traditional Form—2nd Place, Blank Verse

The Prince: First Anniversary

by Carolyn Martin

She will not let it go: her narrative

about shape-shifting steeds and bullying

step-relatives. I’ve begged her to delete

the past and re-compose her life. I can’t,

she turns her back on me. Not now. Not yet.

The fact is she electrified that night.

The metaphor of lightning strikes? They pale.

Only later did I see raw skin hiding

up her sleeves and relentless darting eyes.

They intimated there was work to do

and Heaven knows how hard I’ve tried. I block

her charging down the stairs to get the door.

I squeeze her hand beneath the tablecloth

so she won’t clear the plates. I beg her not

to polish silverware or bow to maids.

You embarrass me, she fires back, and claims

I live in rampant idleness. I hold

her eyes with mine and wonder where she lives.

Each morning when she sneaks out of our bed

to stoke a fire or check deliveries,

I ransack every room. I need to find

those glass-blown shoes that sealed our wedding vows.

She’s hidden them like secrets that can’t bear

to face themselves. I’ll walk them door-to-door

through every street of nearby neighborhoods.

Perhaps they were designed for someone else.

Judge’s comments

The savvy voice and the strong yet subtle meter really serve this satisfying poem. The poem trusts the meter to not be a stricture but to lead where it will. In addition, sharp images help propel the narrative. As a reader, while I was never sure where I was headed, I was absolutely along for the adventure.

John Morrison

Poet bio

From associate professor of English to management trainer to retiree, Carolyn Martin has published poems and book reviews in journals throughout North America and the U.K. Her fourth collection, A Penchant for Masquerades, was released by Unsolicited Press in 2019. She is currently the poetry editor of Kosmos Quarterly: journal for global transformation. Find out more about Carolyn at www.carolynmartinpoet.com.

1 thought on “2019 Fall Contest Winner: Traditional Form—2nd Place, Blank Verse”

  1. I love this.
    The first time, I read it without looking at the title. I was confused and went back. When I saw the title, that told the story.
    I read it again, studied the judge’s notes, then read it out loud.
    A fantastic piece of work.

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