Poem by Brendan Walsh
He kissed her feet to taste where she had walked.
The sole’s curved instep, like an archer’s bow,
held steady. He wanted to learn journeys
by the cracked skin at the very bottom
of her being. He printed damp tongue
at each fold of her body: fingertip
salt, swirled ear hollows, tumescent clit,
inner thighs silken with her body’s drip;
glorious all, but the heartbreak, he knew,
was in her feet. He needed to know streets
they stamped alone, cradled in high-heeled boots,
the loneliness of evenings, toes perked up
to hear her weeping. He wanted to taste
the cold hard ground that led her to his bed.
The 2016 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry
We are pleased to announce this poem as a finalist for the 2016 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry, honoring the independent press’ best poems and hybrid works of the year. The winners are selected by an external panel that judges all pieces blind and chooses the full list of 12 finalists from hundreds of entries. Alternating Current does not determine the final outcome for the judging; the external judges’ decisions are final.
Brendan Walsh’s first poetry collection, Make Anything Whole, was published by Five Oaks Press in 2015, and his second collection, Go, was published by Aldrich Press in 2016. He has lived in and fallen in love with South Korea and Laos; he currently lives and teaches in South Florida to sate his palm tree needs. Brendan has been a featured reader at The New American Writing Festival, the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival’s Connecticut Young Poets Day, and the Poetry Institute New Haven. His work has been awarded the Anna Sonder Prize of the Academy of American Poets, the Leslie Leeds Poetry Prize, and a Freedman Prize for poetry in performance. He received his Master of Fine Arts from Southern Connecticut State University. His poems have appeared in Off the Coast, Connecticut Review, Mason’s Road, Anak Sastra, Lines+Stars, Cobalt Review, Wisconsin Review, LONTAR, and numerous other journals. When he is not training for amateur Strongman competitions or writing and reading poems, he is probably seeking the unknowable essence of humanity.