It is a true pleasure to curate each issue of Blue Heron Review. We celebrate the many gifts of all of our writers. Each year, when the reminder postcard comes in the mail for the Pushcart Prize, I know that I will be faced with some difficult decisions. I am only allowed to choose 6 poems to nominate. I hope that you will join me in congratulating this year’s Blue Heron Review nominees for the Pushcart Prize Anthology! Please enjoy reading a mini issue, published on this page, with all of the poems.
BHR Pushcart Prize Nominations
“We Love Images of Tiny Houses” By Joan Mazza (from Blue Heron Review, Issue #5, Winter 2016)
“A Mother Brushes Her Daughter’s Hair” By Karissa Knox Sorrell (from Blue Heron Review Issue #5, Winter 2016)
“Discovery” By Emily Harel (from Blue Heron Review Issue #5, Winter 2016)
“Homesick” By Hillary Kobernick (from Blue Heron Review Issue #6, Summer 2016)
“Third Person” By Kai Coggin (from Blue Heron Review, Issue #6, Summer 2016)
“Moonlight Bay, 1915” By Erin Slaughter (from Blue Heron Review, Issue #6, Summer 2016)
We Love Images of Tiny Houses
By Joan Mazza (from Blue Heron Review, Issue #5, Winter 2016)
Some on wheels, one with a Murphy bed
and a basket on the wall filled with scarves,
mittens, hats by the door, and a hook
with an Anorak. Rag rugs, a crazy quilt,
cast iron pots and pans and a woodstove,
with a handy pile of seasoned logs. Outside:
a stairway to the roof to watch for shooting
stars. To live in one room, without clutter
or glitz of crystal, silver, souvenirs.
Enough space for one to sleep and eat
parked in wilderness with woods wide
enough for thought, where you see deer
at dusk and dawn. To drink from the swirl
of the Milky Way, sleep to the lyrics
of crickets and tree frogs. To thin
out the litter in our minds, let the loops
of obsessive thoughts flatten, drop
silently, like hair—cut and falling
around a chair. No sweeping it up.
Birds know how to weave it into nests.
A Mother Brushes Her Daughter’s Hair
By Karissa Knox Sorrell (from Blue Heron Review Issue #5, Winter 2016)
You cry out.
I don’t want to hurt you,
but you must learn this lesson:
Your hair is your strength.
A woman’s hair is much like a woman’s soul:
pinned back, tugged tight, lest one lock
fall out of line.
You will learn to love the curls nagging
at the nape of your neck, their rebellion
hidden from the world.
And then you will learn to use
your hair to be dangerous. It will
rush from your scalp and shout!
You will learn the many ways
a woman cries, and sometimes
that is by laughing.
You will learn that every 28 days
your skin sloughs off, giving you
new armor to inhabit.
You will learn to drape your hair
across every wound,
cover your body with softness.
You will learn the force
of love, of grief – are they not one?
You will learn that you can bear both.
You will learn to be untangled
Every tug of the brush
will be a tug on your memory
the weight of remembering me
too hard to bear.
Here is what you will remember:
This was your first lesson
on how to be strong.
By Emily Harel (from Blue Heron Review Issue #5, Winter 2016)
you place the wet frog in my hand. water drips
off his body, pools in my palm. with a croak,
his white throat a balloon.
a thin rain falls. thousands of shooting stars.
in the darkness, we stand
face to face, quiet as trees.
we stare at each other, at the silver rain running
down our bodies, at the tiny pale moons cupped in our hands.
By Hillary Kobernick (from Blue Heron Review Issue #6, Summer 2016)
I dream of salmon and wake up
with fistfuls of okra, kudzu
wrapped around my bed frame
tying me to the Georgia clay.
When the wind blows and the
rain falls like a torrent of Bibles
assaulting Third World missionfields,
my skin turns salmon swimming
upstream. I miss the ocean’s saltiness
the scent of a world textured with
tears. My scales fall every day
the kudzu becomes pillow and the
cicadas with their nightly bandstands
become lullaby. I grow Georgia fins
and still—my accent does not disappear.
Just puts on new clothes. I always dream
By Kai Coggin (from Blue Heron Review, Issue #6, Summer 2016)
I was born cut out of the abdomen of a star,
dropped from the Heavens into chaos and form,
sky stitched up with lace to lay me down into this body,
undercurrent of becoming fire,
growing up into beacon,
filling out the empty skin of a torch.
I climb the stacked rungs of my spine,
porcelain teacup tower,
hand over hand ladder to firmament,
footsteps to light, testament to breaking free,
I stand outside my skin,
hover over head, a halo of watching,
a ring of empathy circling around my body
waiting for the human soul to step out of the broken and sing,
to pick off the pieces of tattered promises and turn them into wings.
Do you know the silent science of disrobing,
detaching from what has built you from ground?
The moment you unrecognize mirrors,
third person self,
omni-unpresent still, but pulling,
pulling up by golden thread,
lifting up out of body into open eyes,
into the cusp of blooming nebulae,
into stardust and atoms,
into that which doesn’t shatter
in the frequencies of knowing,
the vibrations of breakage and becoming whole,
this glowing eternal self from which you fall
all the way down to earth, to rise.
Moonlight Bay, 1915
By Erin Slaughter (from Blue Heron Review, Issue #6, Summer 2016)
Hear the bells, kitten heels
on a dusty mustard carpet,
the muffled joy of bare feet
and sangria-stained mouth. Dance
while we are bodies. Dance while we are heat
and holy flesh. Through the open window,
lavender breeze wraps the room in summer honey.
We do not know the very air is falling in love with us.
We do not know we are all falling in love
with each other, with each revolution
of the record. Dance for the radio static
where our souls go after dirt, after wood and worms,
after afterwards. The voices will be there to welcome us,
huddled in harmony, singing ardently