So to Speak is excited to announce the winner and finalist from this year’s Visual Art contest, judged by Emily St. John Mandel, award-winning author of Station Eleven.
Author: So to Speak Editors
My sleeves are an open tin.
I mean it like it is — like it sounds.
You wouldn’t even recognize me:
quellazaire held like a spear
held like a periscope.
No matter how hard one tries to expel nomenclature, the minor keys linger in all-night gas stations.
Elsewhere I was a daughter, I was a mother, I was either/or.
The doctor asks, were you blue as death
or infancy? Metal on flame
and bearing it or mad, embracing it,
I say. Without praise.
you are a brush of calligraphy
sweeping designs across my belly
ink splattering circles and symbols
like a string of black lipped oyster pearls
strewn between my thighs
She holds it out for me to touch, and as if I’m unsure that the death is fully removed from that chain, I touch it briefly, ready to wash my hands. The metal is cold like a body.
Thickened calluses. One finger crippled to quarter moon,
and the index, childhood impaled, bearing jagged scars.
You should ask yourself: do you really want to get a woman like this? Do you really want to get/win her? Do you really want to get/understand her? If you are the type of person who likes the status quo, she will soon frustrate you. If you like dainty and domestic, you’d best look elsewhere. Hers is a wild spirit—any attempts to help/control/change her will end in a mess. If you are a fan of Pygmalion, do not mistake her for Eliza Doolittle.