BPR Award Nominees

Work nominated for Pushcart & Best of the Net.

A Boy Right Here in Town

My wife, Becca, says she was the first one to spot the McCloskey kid washed up on the shore of Franklin Hollow Lake. Ever since spring broke through the stubborn Virginia winter, she’d walked with a group of neighborhood wives in the evening. Twelve, maybe as many as fifteen of them. They walked the two miles around Franklin Hollow Circle, sometimes detouring along the drives that twisted off the road like snakes from Medusa’s head. Neighborhood watch, they called it, and we laughed. They carried weapons with them—Maglites, Little League bats, anything they could find in the garage or attic or basement that might fend off a burglar or vandal. They strapped Nalgene bottles of white wine to their fanny packs...

Knaves & Whoresons

“I suicide, I suicide!” he cried out, en pointe, as if strung up by an invisible rope lashed to a rafter in the heaven of the homeless shelter. His hands collared his strangulated neck, a frill of starched fingers...

3 Poems

This morning the sky takes on the look of one of those inspirational calendars, all illuminated-edged cumulous with light rays stabbing through like purifying swords, His Glory in pastel script right about where my neighbor’s SUVs are parked out back, one black, one silver, miracles of engineering, collecting light and splotches of berry puree from the chickadees singing high hosannahs in the overhanging branches.

3 Poems

In Berlin I said, look, this city was bombed and separated with walls and put back together and here we are, now, we should find the neighborhood in East Berlin where my grandmother lived with a doctor’s family, hiding, learning how to give injections, the place where she decided not to go to Moscow and become a doctor, the only choice she regrets...

2 Poems

Given a year adrift on the cold Pacific, the broken cities arrive crushed, splintered, with all that the water upended and carried out to sea, all that we might gather from the waves washing in to the iceplant dunes along the California coast. So, too, the dead, who float upside down in the silent wreckage...

3 Poems

I want to scream into the hearing aid nestled in his ear, Where is your fist? Thick-throated men in black coats scurry to the windows of the suite, scour the landscape with slitted eyes, estimate the arc of bullets. They move me from one chair to another to another until I am sitting so close his breath sparks moisture on my skin...

Adult Swim in the Kidney Pool

The hair on his head is gone, but his eyebrows still inch across his face like two black caterpillars playing a polite game of chicken. His body may be down for the count, but his face still has it going on. Each day of the week there’s a different colored cap on his head, and I’m proud to say I crocheted each one. Crocheting is a recent conquest for me, one that did not come easily, since my fingers are short and blunt and often feel more like stubby tan pencils than those sensitive personal tools some other women own.