Our heartiest congratulations to Sidney Eberly, whose poem “The Sidewalk Queen” has been announced as a runner up in The Columbia Review’s 2020 Poetry Competition by judge Robyn Schiff!
You can read “The Sidewalk Queen” below:
The Sidewalk Queen
2020 Poetry Prize Runner-up, selected by Robyn Schiff
A carpet dawn of pink and red poppies
clogs the shower drain, the sink.
It’s a hazardous everywhere and no means
of participation, fire or friendly, the dog
asks if I lift my hind leg to piss everything away, will it sound pretty?
Why not. A poet told me to never answer
a question asked in a poem, but instead
I avoid the police. I press flowers
into their throwing book and duck.
Empty places daydream stick-ups,
to turn their pockets out jingling.
Hollow is in my very own backyard, and your name.
Daphne get out of that tree
we’ll go body-shopping. She chooses
a back bent from glory, a swan neck
that droops ready for some
swan gutting. I choose Fancy Jasper
for her eyes. He tips his hat at passing women,
Who’s culpable there? Guilty of nothing
is a beautiful phrase. I keep one in my cheeks
to bite down on and kick it
when the night goes
into one of its terrible stages.
Or I stage. I dress in dead people’s clothes,
newly bought, shed them.
Self-wrought violence is a lovely bouquet
of inflections. Doesn’t outgrow the need.
Daphne’s pupal husk sits out, sloughed off
and grossly shouldered, flowers only
when the poppies mosey
out the window the paling light
of morning’s own stupid way. I join them.
I suspect the dog might bail but he
wags the day. We three curb and audience
what might happen on the sidewalk.
A pissing match. An aspirin chorus.