Honorable Mention: “Hawthorne Bridge” by Emily Stiles

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Hush yourself’

or maybe it was ‘hide yourself’

because words were always blurred

when mixed with the clamor of cars above.

So you bury yourself in silence,

Tucked between the malnourished underbelly of the Hawthorne Bridge

(teeming with trash and grease-stained gypsies)

and the broken goodwill of a dying American system.

Now when you see the city skyline

Pinned down under an endless fog

You will only think of those atrophied hips

I mean, the ones beneath your aching pelvis,

The ones you let collide against the other on bathroom floors

(if you’re lucky enough to find such shelter)

Both are inescapable

And both will never move again.

You once clutched with swollen hands

The vase you took from home, that last night,

And you ran straight for the starry horizon

Hoping you’d get lost inside the constellations.

Obscurity painted on your vessel,

There was only one direction,

No net in a constantly expanding space.

But now—

You stop beneath the bridge

Watch the rowdy headlights flicker above

Your little dying stars

And you remember your favorite word is “home”

Which has now turned into “hush,”

(Or maybe it was “hide?”)

And you slink dark-eyed back into the dirt.

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