Dear Sylvia and Anne:
We are stuck in your confessional.
We can’t get out. The marriage
of outhouse noise with barnyard pig-grunts
stuffs our ears with ugliness.
You sculpted your pain onto each page,
gaining speed and direction
like the terminal thrusts of a rejected lover.
You knew time was short, the long night
creeping inside your heads. Yet you sought
no creaking door, no key, no light
to seep through cracks and direct your retreat
from the edge. The air crackles,
alive with electro-shock. We turn
and we turn our feet, retrace each step
believed to have led us here
where everything known vanishes.
We smell carbon monoxide and cooking gas
as a bloody sun slips slowly
into a mulberry sea.
© JP Reese
Second Place Winner, IBPC 2000