Finalist : 7th Annual Contest in Poetry



consider last autumn a war
and today the quiet restlessness
that follows. when the bricks must be relaid

but building comes second to sleep
and sleep comes second to wine.
certain nights we think it will heal
itself without our help
. it’s possible

we’re right. better to sit and wait
for summer, sip slowly from our glasses
and shiver through the damp of February.
ignore our itching bones. we shouldn’t miss

the fighting or the losing, yet
we do. these days even the wind can’t decide
whether it’s moving or standing still.




“astronomers capture violent newborn star”

think the womb of space, or empty
pockets, their lint
. some millions

of years between, & this just
a light show—do you see?
the butterfly net cast across

galaxies—asteroids & comets
slipping unseen through the mesh

& isn’t it such a mystery—the looking
back in time, the wrapping of the mind
around the word distant

the fact is, it’s all so much farther

than we realize. these days I find myself
mired in science. in the dark my blinds
cast shadows across angled walls,

supernovae teased from flashing blue
police beacons below. I lie next to you

or no one & it is almost a comfort
to know that we are made of quarks
that we are as much carbon as dying

stars & what I mean is, we’re all so
much farther than we feel, touching

but not touching in the afterglow
of a violent beginning—the purple-red
spread of all this universal burning





after “The Space Project”


the cobweb in the corner of the ceiling
vibrates with the sound of it: all planets &

this music set to the universe’s static—the grandest
case of tinnitus doctors never diagnosed.

the spider eats a fly, wrapped.
I pick at the skin around my fingernails.


                                                                            my ex-lover told me that one night on the porch
                                                                            he heard three cockroaches mating                       & he saw it
                                                                            as it happened, & the noise was
                                                                                                            this slight, moist, exoskeletal rubbing—

                                                                            like a tiny washboard               in a tiny bluegrass band
                                                                            like the predator
                                                                                                            shrunk & slowed down to a crawl

                                                                            & the finish was something profoundly                  unsettling
                                                                                     the shuddering
                                                                                                              close of wing                         the dismount

                                                                            the flushed, satisfied scurry
                                                                                                                                                           across bare feet


maybe all living things
vibrate       at this same frequency
maybe we time           our breaths & thrusts & chirps

to mete a harmony with unseen moons
             with the gone stars we’re made of—


                                                                            now the web is tensed & still; now
                                                                                                the spider lounges, bloated

                                                                            now       I am heavy
                                                                                   a gas giant           now         I rise
                                                                                                 become    a crumb in       no atmosphere


maybe we are so small      so unbreathing

maybe we make no sounds
                                        to the universe at all—


                                                                            skin terraformed, I am

                                                                            into some new earth                 ripe             for alien life

                                                                                   I tell this to the universe                            & wait
                                                                                                                                          & wait

                                                                            I tell this to the universe
                                                                                                                                                      & it says nothing back




Katie PrinceKatie Prince received her MFA from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. In the spring of 2017, she will be serving as artist-in-residence at Klaustrid, in Fljótsdalsvegur, Iceland. Her poems have been published in or are forthcoming from Fugue, Smoking Glue Gun, Portland Review, and Gigantic Sequins, among others.

Photo of Eagle Nebula by WikiImages, courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Katie Prince by Katie Prince.

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5 Responses

  1. jim bodeen

    After reading these, I look at my palms. It’s true. A little bit of gold dust falls in each of us. jim

  2. Kevin Miller

    with the gone stars we’re made of—

    excellent poems beautifully read.

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