Given the number of small presses, an actual win is rare, but the nomination, itself, is an honor. When I first started publishing I wanted to be nominated so badly, then when it didn't happen, I let that wish go. Now today, with my tooth.jaw into a bad pain cycle from drilling down in prep for a crown and nauseated from trying percocet for the pain, here comes this wonderful nomination from the editor of In The Fray.
The poem is at this this page (All of my poems on the page are illustrated by Mary Hillier, an artist I know and like very much, so it's worth a peek there, too, if time permits). I enjoy publishing in this journal since it includes news, issue discussion, essays along with its short stories and poems.
The Pushcart Prize is a prestigious American literary prize by Pushcart Press that honors the best "poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot" published in the small presses over the previous year. Magazine and small book press editors are invited to nominate up to 6 works they have featured. Anthologies of the selected works have been published annually since 1976.
The founding editors are Anais Nin, Buckminster Fuller, Charles Newman, Daniel Halpern, Gordon Lish, Harry Smith, Hugh Fox, Ishmael Reed, Joyce Carol Oates, Len Fulton, Leonard Randolph, Leslie Fiedler, Nona Balakian, Paul Bowles, Paul Engle, Ralph Ellison, Reynolds Price, Rhoda Schwartz, Richard Morris, Ted Wilentz, Tom Montag, and William Phillips.
This is the nominated poem:
In the lineup of old lovers,
he never appears,
yet he was the one who peeled back my skin,
slipped fingers beneath breastbone.
Odd, his disappearance, when a decade
of heart thumps had to pass
before flesh closed and healed.
I wonder if his next love remembers.
Maybe those men who once slung their arms
'round our necks, painted hieroglyphs with lips
on our breasts, wake now in colorless rooms,
bewildered to find no woman beneath them.
Maybe they remember a dimming face,
a distant laugh...a sigh,
& dream of those days when their hands
still forged fingerprints into the hollows of time.
In The Fray, September 2008