ONE ART is one of my favorite poetry magazines, and so it is especially thrilling to have a poem of mine among those nominated for “Best of Net.” Thank you to editors Mark Danowsky & Louisa Schnaithmann.
Their complete list of Nominees:
What Were You Wearing? by Nicole Caruso Garcia
Bearing Water by Betsy Mars
Naviphobia by Sean Lynch
Rail Trail by James Harms
An Urn Among Music Boxes by Tom Hunley
After the Tortoise Won the Race by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
After the Tortoise Won the Race
It was the strangest thing.
She’d never cared before about winning.
Life had been about basking in the sun
at the entrance to her burrow.
Sometimes when she was warm enough,
she’d plod off in search of leaves.
Now, she thought about finish lines.
The feel of the ribbon on her prehistoric nose.
The roar of the crowd as she crossed.
They say tortoises don’t have feelings,
no hippocampus in their small brains,
but she’d felt it, the tug of success.
She spent decades looking for another race
she had a chance to win. None of her friends
could understand. Come dig in the sandy soil,
they said, but it wasn’t enough anymore.
She wished she’d never said yes to that race.
She wished she could race the hare again tonight.
She wished she could stop defining her life
by that one moment. Wished she could stop wishing
for any life beyond the life she had now,
sleeping in her burrow, cool and moist.
Wished all she wanted were soft weeds and long-leaf pines.
Wished she could hear that crowd. Just one more time.